Johannesburg – University of Pretoria captain Tebogo Monyai has rallied his troops to rediscover their sharpness in front of goal in the varsity derby against Wits on Tuesday.
“I think we were a bit unlucky in our first match. We created a lot of chances just didn't get the ball behind the net at the end of the day,” Monyai said.
“We are looking to make sure we rectify our mistakes from the last match, and we hope we will have a little bit of luck go our way.”
At the weekend, AmaTuks kicked off their season in disappointing fashion, suffering a 1-0 defeat at home at the hands of Polokwane City.
Monyai hoped fortune favoured the Pretoria club in front of goal during their travels to their rival university.
“Our technical team works with our strikers every training session on their finishing. The guys put in a lot of extra work because we understand that our strikers need to be at their best.”
Without the heavy burden of expectation, AmaTuks would have a much improved showing, Monyai said.
“The first match is never easy, especially at home where the expectation is very high for us to do well in front of our supporters.
“It's not a train smash for us – sometimes things don't go your way.”
The opening defeat ensured that any hint of complacency was swiftly nipped in the bud and that the team headed into future games more determined, he said.
“It might be a blessing in disguise and a wake-up call to show us that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Wits had assembled a formidable squad for the season which went a long way in illustrating the club's lofty ambitions. One of the team's major signings, defender Buhle Mkhwanazi, was poached from AmaTuks themselves.
Mkhwanazi, who had often deputised as skipper, would inevitably play a key role for Wits in the derby clash according to Monyai.
“Buhle is one of the best centre backs I have ever worked with. But we all know that football is not a one man game Ä the team is the most important thing.”
Although Wits had more resources and wherewithal in comparison, Monyai said his team had the heart to pull off an upset.
“There is no team which is not beatable. It's possible to beat any team. We are prepared to go there and fight for the points.
“On paper, everybody would write us off and say that we cannot beat Wits, but we will see.”
Having lost his righthand man to their arch rivals, Monyai backed midfielders Ronald Ketjijere and Mpho Matsi to lead the side in Mkhwanazi's absence.
“We have leaders in the squad, so it's not a worry. We have Ronald and we have Mpho who can stand in for me if I am not in the team.
“Mpho especially, we are looking to groom as the leader going forward. We foresee him taking over once I retire. He has been in the system for many years.”
In the other game on Tuesday night, SuperSport United take on newly promoted Chippa, who surprised Platinum Stars on the weekend with a 2-0 victory in their first game back in top-flight soccer. SuperSport would be looking to make up for their 1-0 to Wits in front of their home fans. – Sapa