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Tlisane Motaung-led AmaTuks braced for promotion/relegation play-offs battle

Tlisane Motaung, coach of University of Pretoria reacts during the GladAfrica Championship match against Hungry Lions at Tuks Stadium, Pretoria on 15 May 2022. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Tlisane Motaung, coach of University of Pretoria reacts during the GladAfrica Championship match against Hungry Lions at Tuks Stadium, Pretoria on 15 May 2022. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published May 17, 2022

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Cape Town - GladAfrica Championship runners-up, University of Pretoria, nicknamed AmaTuks, are hoping for a change of fortunes when they kick off their PSL promotion/relegation play-offs campaign against fellow first divisioners Cape Town All Stars on May 29.

AmaTuks were dogged by bad luck in their final two GladAfrica Championship matches which ended in draws and denied them a chance to challenge for automatic promotion. Instead of two draws, back-to-back wins would have lifted them above eventual winners Richards Bay FC by two points.

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Two weeks ago, several players fell ill on matchday in Cape Town, ahead of the match against Cape Town Spurs at Athlone Stadium. A stomach bug was at the heart of the problem and players took strain throughout the match.

To add insult to injury to the team their influential striker Luvuyo Phewa, who is on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns, was injured during the Spurs match and was also unavailable for the final match of the regular season against Hungry Lions.

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AmaTuks coach Tlisane Motaung, a former captain, has been at the helm since 2020 when he replaced Zipho Dlangalala, who left the club to join TS Galaxy as an assistant coach. He was a player when AmaTuks last played top-flight football in 2016.

Motaung, no relative of the famous Kaizer Chiefs clan, feels that AmaTuks is well-equipped to triumph in the three-team mini round-robin tournament, which will end on June 15, when the DStv Premiership 15th placed team hosts AmaTuks.

"We were happy to dig deep to win automatic promotion rather than being handed the title on a silver platter," said Motaung. "Unfortunately, we had problems beyond our control, but we are ready to put up a good fight in the play-offs.

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"It is a final chance to reach the elite league and we are not going to miss out on this opportunity.

"Promotion has been a milestone and we were hoping to reach that via automatic promotion. Now that we missed out on that, we're left with no other alternative but to win the play-offs.

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"There is no plan to change the way we play. We have done well in the Nedbank Cup. We were stopped by Royal AM, after taking out Chippa United 2-0. We also defeated the eventual GladAfrica champions Richards Bay in April.  This team is capable of taking on the best and coming out on top.

"These play-offs will give us a chance to show that academics can also do well in sport, and many at the university have already become world-class achievers."

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Even though there is only one round left in the Premiership, there is no indication of who will finish in 15th place and join the field for the promotion/relegation play-offs.

@Herman_Gibbs

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