Mbombela United have made a plea to their home fans to give them all the support they need so as to realise their dreams of seeing themselves in the Premier Soccer League in the not so distant future.
United have just gained promotion to the National First Division (NFD) and will lock horns with Mthatha Bucks to see who will be crowned champions of the 2014/15 ABC Motsepe League.
The encounter is scheduled for Sunday, 26 July at the De Beers Stadium in Kimberley, Northern Cape. Kick-off is at 15h00.
United had to brush off the challenge of Glendene United, African All Stars, Roses United and Milford FC in Group A without losing match. Mbombela finished on 10 points, just one more than Glendene. They were also the top scorers with 10 goals, one above Hungry Lions.
SAFA Media sat down with Mbombela United chairman Sikhumbuzo Mathebula after the promotion to the NFD.
Matlhomola Morake: How are you feeling right now, has it sunk it?
Sikhumbuzo Mathebula: It is indeed a great pleasure and a great achievement as the same time to gain promotion. We are proud of the work we have done. It hasn’t sunk in yet but we are getting there.
MM: How did this come about?
SM: We started preparing when we were doing recruitment of players – we did that for three months. We selected only the best players, whom we believed could deliver what we wanted, which was promotion. Over and above that we prepared very well – we were in Kimberley two weeks before the start of the tournament just to get the players focussed mentally. We also did something that we believe also worked for us – we cut off communication by taking the phones of the players so that there would be proper concentration and focus on the job at hand. But we were still able to communicate with their families if a need arose.
MM: And you must be glad all of that paid off?
SM: It paid off indeed, and we have no regrets, just jubilation. We spent a lot of money just to accommodate the players but what we are happy about is that the boys understood the mission – to gain promotion. We were able to do proper planning. They say “proper planning prevents poor performance.” When we went on our recruitment drive, we told the players of the mandate and they ran with it.
MM: What are your plans in the NFD?
SM: I don’t want to comment on that at this point because I believe we have a strong squad, maybe we will make additions here and there, bring in experienced players that can help us. But our emphasis is on youth – our squad is very young, there is not a single player that is over 25 and they did well in friendlies against Sundowns, Aces and other teams prior to the tournament.
MM: Will we be seeing you in the PSL soon?
SM: Well, I hope so and we are determined to make Mbombela one of the main football development cities in Mpumalanga. You also have to look at Mbombela the city, it is strategically placed. We are near both Swaziland and Mozambique which should be good for support. And also look at it this way – it will be Mbombela United from Mbombela City using its own venue called Mbombela Stadium – so it is not our team, we are merely trustees. The team belongs to the people of Mbombela and Mpumalanga as a whole.
MM: What can you say to the people of Mpumalanga?
SM: We promised them promotion, we have achieved that. We are now gunning for the trophy to be crowned champions. What we need from them is the support, to be behind the team. Afterall this is the only team playing in the NFD this season, so I believe we stand a good chance from local teams to support us with good players and we believe with that we can rise to the occasion and be promoted to the PSL in the near future.
MM: What are your chances against Mthatha Bucks in the final?
SM: What we wanted to achieve was to gain promotion, but if we win against Mthatha Bucks it will just be a cherry on top. We have promised the people of Mpumalanga that we want to be first team to gain promotion into the NFD and we have done that, now we want to make history by being the first team to win the playoffs – thereby winning the inaugural one million rand in the final. And we know it can be done, but it is going to be a good match because they are a good side.
Road to the Final:
Group Stages (Group A)
M#4 Glendene United (0) 1 vs (1) 3 Mbombela United
M#8 Mbombela United (0) 1 vs (0) 1 Roses United
M#12 Mbombela United (2) 3 vs (0) 1 Milford FC
M#13 Mbombela United (1) 3 vs (1) 2 African All Stars
Played W D Lost GF GA GD Pts
4 3 1 0 10 5 5 10