8 June 2018 – TS Sporting goalkeeper, Mulungisi Maranti, took a while before taking the final penalty which ultimately saw his side beat Mangaung Unite 5-4 in the ABC Motsepe League National Playoffs semi-finals penalty shootout, following a 1-1 scoreline.
The player expressed that it was too much of a burden for him, knowing that he now knew that all the hopes and dreams of the club’s leadership, technical staff members and the team’ supporters, were now on his shoulders to carry them through to next season’s NFD campaign.
At one point, Maranti even tried to walk off the pitch to his team’s dugout, in pursuit of trying to make a plea with them to release him from that duty. However, the technical team refused before he could even get too close. They made it perfectly clear that they believed in him. The club’ supporters were in support of that decision as well. They cheered him on.
“Right there and then, I knew that I was not alone,” Maranti says. “I was panicking. I knew that I had wasted a whole lot of time trying to ease my nerves by aimlessly walking around before taking that shot. However, I had to talk to my ancestors. I needed them there with me. The pressure was too much.”
Asked how he felt after playing a crucial role in helping his side gain promotion into the NFD by virtue of being in this year’s ABC Motsepe League National Playoffs final, Maranti said: “I’m over the moon. This is my second time helping a team gain promotion into the NFD. About, two seasons ago, I was there with Umthatha Bucks when they secured their promotion into the NFD and now, I’ve done it again with TS. I’m elated.”
TS Sporting will battle it out with also newly promoted Maccabi FC in this year’s playoffs final this Saturday at Peter Mokaba Stadium (Kick-off 11am).
Maccabi coach Mokete Tsotetsi, who also expressed his elation of having led his side into the first division, stated that TS Sporting should brace themselves for a fight of their lives, as his team will stop at nothing in seeing themselves being crowned this year’s play off champions.
“Sure the most important part of the business is done; however, our job is not yet finished,” Tsotetsi says. “We want to win this year’s play offs. That’s our focus now. I made it very clear to my boys that anything less than that would be counted as unacceptable on the day.”