African All Stars have what looks on paper as a relatively easy task this week, as they host local rivals Leruma United in an ABC Motsepe League derby at the Tsakane stadium. But they are not taking their neighbours from Daveyton lightly, because they themselves haven’t won in their last five league matches.
Their most recent outing, against Vaal Professionals in Vereeniging, ended in a 0-0 draw, leaving them lying on 10th position on the log with just nine games left before the end the season. The recent record of their opponents for Friday’s game however paints an even grimmer picture, as they are sitting 14th, with nine points less than the All Stars, having not won any of their matches since the 1-0 win over Alexandra Black Aces in the first match of the year on 12 January.
But notwithstanding the fact that, Amazozo spokesperson Tshepo Tlagae says they are not expecting an easy outing, also because form in most times counts for nothing in derby matches. “[In] a derby you can never take any chances, especially with the position that both teams are in; both teams are gunning for three points, not even a single point will do us any justice.”
Tlagae also explains that the club feels obliged to always do well because, “Amazozo is a big team, my friend, we are a big brand as far as we are concerned, and we are not taking any chances. In any game that we’re playing, we’re really gunning for three points; we know what we’ve planned for the game, we’re just not taking any chances with Leruma. We respect Leruma, we know that they’re doing bad but then, we’re also not doing [as] well as expected.”
They are indeed not doing as well as expected if they truly regard themselves as one of the top teams in the league,but as evidence has it that they are sitting an entire 16 points behind the three teams which are equal on points at the top of the standings, those being Baberwa FC, JDR Stars and Dondol Stars. Tlagae says this season’s objective, is to however finish in the top five, which is contrary to what captain Bongani Nyambi said, they hoped for back in January when they were still preparing to start with the second half of the season.
Then being 14 points behind Baberwa, who at the time were alone at the summit, Nyambi said they still had hopes of eclipsing the log-leaders and winning the league.
Tlagae has also expressed gratitude to the team’s supporters for their support in the current 2018/2019 season and urges them to continue doing so for the remainder of the campaign. “We know we’re not doing very well this season, but we really appreciate those who come out to support the team; please keep on supporting the team, don’t give up on us, we’ll turn things around.”
The match on Friday is scheduled for 16:00.