New Year, same old problems for KwaTsaDuza teams in the ABC Motsepe League

Kwa-Thema, the newly-promoted XI Experience, training

So much has changed for the two KwaTsaDuza representatives in the third-tier league since late last year, but some things just refuse to follow suit for both African All Stars and the league’s new boys, XI Experience.

Amazozo, as the All Stars are affectionately known, beat former champions JDR Stars of Tshwane 1-0 in Tshwane on the opening day of the second half of the 2018/2019 season and moved, temporarily, to 9th position on the log. That was before they would be dropped back to 10th just a week later, following the postponement of their match against Swallows FC after the Tsakane stadium once again experienced problems with the floodlights.

A floodlights problem that is indeed not new, and one that everyone thought was in the past, as the club told EKFM last year that they had come up with a solution, that being they would have a technician on site each time they play their home games – which are on Friday nights at 7pm – so as to avoid a repetition of the same problem. But, as it appears, there was no such contingency plan on Friday, 18 January, as the game with Swallows ended up being postponed after the match commissioner deemed it too dark to play in a stadium that had one of the multiple set of floodlights failing to turn on.

In a move that seeks to avoid another case of postponed matches due to technical challenges, Amazozo have since changed the kick-off time for their home matches from 7pm to 4pm, when it is much brighter, more so in the warmer seasons such as the current summer. Their official statement, released via Facebook on Saturday, 19 January, reads:

“Our game against Swallows F.C, yesterday, was called off due to the fact that only 3 floodlights were on and the 4th one failed. Let me indicate that we have played several games in the past with 3 functional floodlights as the lighting was sufficient for a non-televised game, however, the match commissioner for yesterday’s game saw otherwise. Please also note that going forward, in order to avoid this issue, we will be playing our home games on either Friday, 16h00 or Saturday, 13h00, depending on the availability of the stadium. We would like to sincerely apologize to all those that came to watch our game yesterday. We hope with this change of times, there will never be another game abandoned at Tsakane stadium.”

All Stars were scheduled to play the Orlando Pirates development team, Pele Pele FC, on Friday, 25 January, in what would be their first match since changing the kick off time.

XI Experience’s new coach Percy Legodi

In Kwa-Thema, the newly-promoted XI Experience, who currently occupy the bottom spot on the log (16th place), have a new coach in Percy Legodi. The new man in change hasn’t brought a lot of change in the team’s fortunes so far though, as Ma-Leven (the team’s nickname), have still won just one of the 16 games they’ve played so far, and sit six points behind the team nearest to them at the bottom, FC Ma-Lions, although they do, at the time of writing, have a game in hand.

The 2017/2018 Ekurhuleni SAB League champions lost against M. Tigers at the Kwa-Thema stadium and against Alexandra United away from home – the score being 2-1 on both occasions – in their first two matches after the Christmas break.

Legodi attributes the team’s poor season so far to a number of things, including an unhappiness of some players, whom he says are disgruntled because they have not been paid monies that are due to them, although it is not clear whether he means salaries or bonuses. “The guys’ confidence is very low”, is how he answered the question about the players’ readiness for the game against Alexandra United. He went on to explain that: “There were certain promises that were made by the chairperson and it seems there are problems in meeting those promises while it is in the process.

“The chairperson acknowledges those promises, but in the meantime players seem to lack that patience.”

XI Experience were scheduled to play against Tembisa Sport Centre in a derby match at the Kwa-Thema stadium on Saturday, 26 January.