Rusike hoping his hard work pays off
Following the arrival of striker Thamsanqa Gabuza from Orlando Pirates in July, coach Kaitano Tembo shook things up a little bit up front, pairing the former Golden Arrows’ talisman with Bradlely Grobler, while Rusike was converting into a winger.
That formation yielded results from the outset, Gabuza and Grobler inspiring Matsantsanta a Pitori to the first domestic trophy of the season, the MTN8, where they scored five goals and registered two assists between them in four appearances.
With the new changes having worked the Zimbabwean international got stuck into his wing-role, where he’s huffed and puffed but only managed to score two goals and register two assists in 19 domestic appearances, a long way from his best.
Last season, Rusike appeared to be a man on a mission after joining the club from Maritzburg United, scoring six goals and registering four assists in 24 domestic appearances. However, it’s been hard for him to get his groove back especially with the changes in formation.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for me particularly after the change of position. I love playing in the centre but the coach saw something and now I’m playing as a midfielder or the wide striker. So, I am trying to get a feel for the position,” he said.
And it will now be even harder for hime to reclaim the No 9 jersey after last week, Steve Barker, the coach Stellenbosch FC, announced that striker Iqraam Reyners has signed a pre-contract with the Pretoria giants and he’s expected to leave Stellies when his contract expires in June.
In the previous campaign, Reyners netted 19 league goals as he helped Stellis to outright promotion from the GladAfrica Championship.
Having been rookies in top-flight football, the 24-year-old has been key for the Winelands-based side in their bid to stay in the elite league, scoring five goals and registering five assists in 17 matches.
Rusike, though, vows that given an opportunity to contribute to the team in the next four months, he’ll grab the chance with both hands.
“When you play in the central position, you might get more chances and you don’t use all of them.
"But when you playing wider, when you get just one chance, you have to bury it because you might not get another one,” he said.
SuperSport are third on the log standings with 31 points, 11 behind log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, who have a game in hand.
However, while the league is a marathon, Matsantsantsa a Pitori will be hoping to go about their business in South Africa’s premier club knockout competition, the Nedbank Cup, with aplomb when they open their campaign against rivals Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on Saturday, February 8.