Desperate Tembisa Classic will have to run the risk of injuries and suspensions when they face First Division log-leaders Wits University in the opening round of the 2006 Absa Cup in Johannesburg on Friday night.
Though the league campaign is far more important, Classic chairperson Farouk Kadodia says they will be taking a full-strength team to Milpark because they badly need a victory to lift their spirits after suffering three straight losses in the league.
"We can't afford to let the spirit in the team drop any further. We haven't lost three in a row before," said a concerned Kadodia, whose men dropped to last position in the Castle Premiership standings through those losses to Black Leopards, Golden Arrows and Ajax Cape Town over the past two weeks.
"We need a win to help us turn the corner. It will also be a boost for the new coach to get his first win."
Since taking over from former Bafana Bafana coach Trott Moloto at Classic three weeks ago, Mlungisi "Professor" Ngubane has seen his men concede as many as seven goals while netting only three in reply.
The club's overall winless run stands at eight matches, with their last victory having been over relegation rivals Bush Bucks at home on December 7.
Striker Bradley August is back from suspension, but central midfielder Siyabonga Siphika will miss his second successive game because of an ankle injury.
Kadodia said apart from the club's poor form, they were also troubled by their failure so far to register striker Kapamba Musasa and midfielder Shaun Potgieter because of a change in transfer regulations.
"Apparently, because the two players' contracts both ended outside our transfer window in February, they can only be signed in the next window. Of course, our transfer window was moved this season, from February to December," explained Kadodia.
He said they had hired Durban-based lawyer Michael Murphy to fight Musasa's case in the Witwatersrand High Court on Thursday, where he was going to claim a denial of labour rights, while local agent Mike Makaab was trying to get Potgieter's matter cleared.
"If the transfer window had remained in February, then we wouldn't have had a problem signing the two players, but the Premier Soccer League is conveniently keeping quiet about this issue," charged Kadodia.
The window was changed this season because of a packed programme coming on either side of a long recess that was brought on by the staging of the African Cup of Nations at the beginning of the season.
Should the bids by Murphy and Makaab fail, "we will have no option but to release the players", says Kadodia.
The fast-talking chairman also disclosed that former Durban Stars and Zulu Royals coach Ramadhan Nsanzurwimo stood a chance of being appointed to the vacant assistant coach position at the club.
Nsanzurwimo offered his services last weekend, saying his current job at Leopards in Thohoyandou was very taxing on his family living in Durban.