CAPE TOWN – After a tough baptism in professional football for Ubuntu Cape Town, American coach Casey Prince is confident that, with the benefit of the knowledge and experience gained, the club will be on a far better footing next season.
NFD rookies Ubuntu salvaged their spot in the league with a fine victory at Parow Park on Sunday to finish third-from-bottom on the standings.
On Tuesday morning, Prince was still over the moon at his club’s achievement in managing to avoid relegation on the final day of the NFD campaign - and, looking forward, he was confident of continued progress, not just for the club but for himself as coach as well.
“I think that this season I got a 10-year coaching education in the space of seven months,” said Prince, one of the founders of the Ubuntu football vision. “But now I know better how to operate, and how to deal with pro footballers.
“I also think as a club we know now that there is a greater network of players out there, and we know how to go about accessing such players. We campaigned under difficult circumstances this season, but I believe we will be better prepared next season.”
“We will be able to have a full pre-season programme, some players will move on, we will bring in some players, and we will plan from there.”
“If you look at a second half of the season NFD log, you will see that we finished fourth,” said the Ubuntu coach. “There’s certainly a positive in that - if we had performed similarly in the first half of the season, we could have been challenging for a promotion play-off spot.”
“Secondly, I think the exposure of our fantastic run in the Nedbank Cup gave us an opportunity to show our unique spirit and what we would like to accomplish as a club.”
As an example of what the exposure has done for Ubuntu, two of their players - Jesse Don and Luke Fleurs - have been selected for the SA national U20 squad. Both teenagers have come through the Ubuntu academy and, as a result, Prince was particularly thrilled for the duo.
“Luke has been in the SA U17 squad before, but Jesse was never even close. The fact that he has been called up shows the progress he has made. When Jesse was 13, you would never have said that he would be a national player one day.”
“But because of his willingness to learn... and his drive to succeed, he is where he is. It’s great that our kids are getting opportunities and I am confident that Luke and Jesse will continue to do well.”