Richards Bay can’t afford to slip up against Tuks

Richards Bay coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi. | BackpagePix

Richards Bay coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 5, 2024


Smiso Msomi

Richards Bay have been placed under massive pressure to win their opening match in the PSL promotion/relegation play-offs against the University of Pretoria.

The Natal Rich Boyz will play hosts to Motsepe Foundation Championship side Tuks at the King Zwelithini Stadium 3pm today, with the hope of kick-starting their defence of their top-flight status positively.

Having finished 15th in the DStv Premiership, the KwaZulu-Natal outfit were tipped as favourites in the round robin three-team play-offs when pitted against second-tier sides AmaTuks and Baroka.

However, AmaTuks have shifted the dynamic after their opening day 1-0 win over Baroka and have made themselves the side to beat at this early stage. Richards Bay are expected to respond to that with a win over the Pretoria-based club.

The Natal Rich Boyz rounded off their campaign in fairly positive style as they managed to secure five wins in their last eight league matches, which wasn’t enough to elevate them to safety but did well for their morale.

The last of those wins came against CAF Confederation Cup-bound Stellenbosch in the final game of the season, a result head coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi felt would go a long way in helping their confidence levels.

“I’m very happy with the result because we wanted to win the game and we wanted to finish on a high note,” he said. “This was the game where we had to focus on and try to win.

“We are very excited to win the game and have confidence going into the play-offs. We need to go there and be ready mentally.

“The past seven games, we have been competing strongly and if we can have that attitude against Baroka and AmaTuks, I think we can be victorious.”

The visiting AmaTuks side received a welcome boost against Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele in their last match after failing to win any of their last eight matches of the season in the second tier.

Their direct style of football has been admired by many and could prove a difficult prospect to deal with but Vilakazi revealed that he and his team have done adequate research on their opposition.

“We do know how they play and they also know how we play,” he said.

“I always say proper planning will determine whether we will be victorious on the day or not. So, we will plan accordingly.

“We know how they play, their strong points and weaknesses. We just have to make sure we limit our mistakes.

“I think we will have to dig deep and respect the opposition but not on the field, and not take them for granted. It is something that we need to instil in our players to know that it is not going to be easy. It is going to be very difficult.”

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