DURBAN - The four-match unbeaten run that AmaZulu enjoy in the Absa Premiership coincides with the improved health of the squad, and the return of defender Tapelo Nyongo is viewed as a further boost to end the year on a high.
In recent outings AmaZulu drew with Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town, matches that coincided with midfielder Michael Morton’s return from suspension and winger Ovidy Karuru’s availability after injury. Ahead of Wednesday's visit of Bloemfontein Celtic to uMlazi for a league clash AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson expressed happiness at Nyongo’s comeback.
The central defender resumed full training following a back problem, and only lack of match fitness might see him omitted. The one player out is Phumlani Gumede, who completes a suspension tomorrow night against the Telkom Knockout runners-up.
“Tapelo is back and we’re happy to see him again training. Now it’s up to the fitness conditioning experts, and if he comes good before Christmas it will be a bonus. Until now I’m happy with what we have in the team,” said Johnson, suggesting that last season’s regular captain Nyongo won’t easily walk into the starting unit.
Usuthu haven’t won in their last four home assignments, and victory is vital for the club to rebuild the brand and grow their support base, said Johnson.
Faith in young players is a hallmark of Johnson’s coaching career, and he was positive that goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha and striker Somila Ntsundwana would feature prominently in the club’s revival.
Mbatha has shared the first team gloves with Boalefa Pule and Port Elizabeth-born forward Ntsundwana enjoys regular appearances off the bench.
“Siya is a champion in the NFD, he’s come a long way, and needs to be given credit for keeping Energy (Murambadoro) and Pule on their toes.
“Somila is a humble young man with a good head on his shoulders. If he maintains his attitude and commitment, and doesn’t let factors outside football disturb his game then he’ll be a very good signing for this club,” Johnson said of the 21-year-old former Bidvest Wits reserve team player.
League action resumes on Tuesday night with Maritzburg United facing Cape Town City in an away game at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu.
City were forced to bring their home game to Durban because of the unavailability of suitable venues in the Mother City. The Citizens can go top of the table if they win and second-placed Orlando Pirates fail to beat Supersport United in another game.
The other local outfit, Golden Arrows, travel to Free State Stars on Wednesday for an evening clash.