Durban — Second place Royal AM will enter their league clash against TS Galaxy on Saturday with confidence after coach John Maduka and attacker Mxolisi Macuphu were honoured with the coach of the month and player of the month awards by the PSL at a press conference in Durban on Thursday afternoon.
Royal AM have been the league’s biggest surprise package this season. The Durban based club are currently on course to achieve qualification to the CAF Champions League in what is their first season in the South African top-flight.
Maduka told IOL Sport that the team is focused on ending the season on a high rather than Champions League qualification.
“We’ve got a plan and want to finish as high as possible this season. We don’t really want to deviate and think about the Champions League. The technical team wanted a top eight finish. We have also now survived and cannot be relegated this season. Our target for now is not to ensure that we finish second but rather to focus on achieving our season plan,” said Maduka.
Royal AM won two out of their three games in all competitions in March and are without defeat since the turn of the year. The last time that they lost was when they were downed 1-0 by Baroka FC in December.
Maduka said that the coach of the month award is special to him, especially as it is the first one that he has achieved.
“It’s special especially as it’s the first one for me as a coach. It really means a lot to me. It has been a difficult time and the league has been difficult. We have been working hard to get to where we are. The players have been working very hard and credit must go to the technical team. I would like to thank the people that voted for me,” said Maduka.
In addition to shining in the league, Royal AM also remain alive and well in the Nedbank Cup. They will be among the favourites to reach the semi-final stage of South Africa’s Premier Club competition as they are due to host second-tier side University of Pretoria in their quarter final clash on Sunday, 10 April.
With seven goals to his name in the league this season, Macuphu is the league’s fourth highest scorer, behind Bienvenu Eva Nga (Chippa United), team-mate Victor Letsoalo and Peter Shalulile.
Macuphu dedicated his player of the month award to his coach Maduka.
“When you have someone like him (Maduka) leading you, things become easier. The players are close friends and the coach has put in a vision and created goals that we want to achieve,” said Macuphu.
The 32-year-old added that he would love to be called-up for national team duty by Bafana Bafana in future but is happy with the regular call-ups that his team-mate Letsoalo has achieved since taking charge of Bafana Bafana.