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Comment: Focusing on the basics should help Richards Bay FC avoid relegation

Mpho Mathebula (left) and Siphosethu Meveni of Richards Bay FC during the GladAfrica Championship 2021/22 match against Cape Town Spurs held at King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium in Durban

Mpho Mathebula (left) and Siphosethu Meveni of Richards Bay FC during the GladAfrica Championship 2021/22 match against Cape Town Spurs held at King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on 15 May 2022. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Jun 1, 2022

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Durban - If we saw one thing from last season’s DSTV Premiership, it is that one does not necessarily need an expensive or technically gifted side to be competitive, but rather what they need is a side which focuses on getting basic aspects of their play right such as the fundamentals of goalkeeping, attacking and defending.

Premiership newcomers Richards Bay FC should set their priorities realistically ahead of the new season. The club which will be the fifth from Kwa-Zulu Natal to play in the top-flight should not aim for anything spectacular in the first campaign, but rather just aim to avoid relegation.

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It is extremely unlikely that they will replicate Royal AM who finished third last term in what was technically their debut top-flight season. While John Maduka’s sides’ achievements should be lauded, the reality is that it was also sensationalised by media and pundits alike.

The name Royal AM may have been a newcomer to the scene but Maduka, his technical team and players were not. Upon buying the former franchise of the new defunct Bloemfontein Celtic, Royal AM integrated the bulk of the players from the defunct side into their squad while offloading those that did duty for them the season before in the GladAfrica Championship.

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The bulk of the players in the Royal AM side were experienced top flight campaigners who did not require adapting to the league as will several of the Richards Bay FC players.

Most teams in the top-flight, bar Mamelodi Sundowns, are in a rebuilding phase which means that the quality of play in the league is historically currently at a lower level. This tends to benefit teams such as Richards Bay. They will benefit from the unknown factor associated with them combined with the fact that other clubs are often still getting the basic aspects of their play wrong.

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Richards Bay do not need to invest heavily in new players but they need to invest wisely. Rather than looking to bring in the technically best experienced players, they should look to bring in disciplined players who know the ropes at the highest level.

They currently have experienced players such as Malcolm Jacobs, Siyabonga Vilane and Somila Ntsundwana on their books. The trio are not the most technically gifted around but are also disciplined in their play and tend to get the basic aspects of game reading correct. Richards Bay need more players of this calibre if they want to avoid the drop next term.

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@eshlinv

IOL Sport

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