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Royal AM will look to continue springing surprises against Sundowns

FILE - Royal AM head coach John Maduka. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

FILE - Royal AM head coach John Maduka. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Dec 7, 2021

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Durban — Royal AM will be looking to show that they mean business when they square off against Mamelodi Sundowns in a top-of-the-table clash at Loftus Versfeld.

Thwihli Thwahla enters the contest in third spot on the standings and nine points adrift of Sundowns. As we near the halfway point of the season, the log has taken an unexpected sight as the newly promoted duo of Sekhukhune United and Royal AM are second and third respectively.

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Royal AM certainly will not go into their game against Sundowns as the favourites but at the same time they really have nothing to lose. A win could potentially lift them to second place while a loss is unlikely to have much bearing on their season.

While Sundowns remain the only unbeaten side in the league, John Maduka’s side can take plenty of heart from the fact that they have only lost once in their last 11 league games (against Sekhukhune).

Helped by the experienced players that they inherited from the now-defunct Bloemfontein Celtic, Maduka’s side have proven that their results have been no fluke as they have so far beaten established sides Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United while also holding Orlando Pirates to a draw.

Masandawana are also going through their worst point of the season so far as they have drawn three out of their last four games with the most recent stalemate coming against Stellenbosch FC at the Danie Craven Stadium last weekend.

Key to Royal AM’s successes this season has been goalkeeper Patrick Nyame. The 35-year-old joined the Durban-based side from Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at the start of the season and has been a revelation. The Cameroon international has been a standout presence in goal for his club and could be a contender for goalkeeper of the season if he can maintain his current standards.

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Most recently, Nyame delivered a man-of-the-match performance to help his side hold AmaZulu to a draw at the Moses Mabhida Stadium last weekend.

Nyame will once again need to be firmly on his toes if Maduka’s side wants to potentially frustrate Sundowns. The veteran will need to be on top of his game if he is to prevent the likes of Peter Shalulile, Themba Zwane and Kermit Erasmus from breaching his goal line, something that few teams can prevent.

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Sundowns will also need to rotate well ahead of fixtures against SuperSport United, Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu before they close out the year with a game against Marumo Gallants.

@eshlinv

IOL Sport

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