29 October 2020 – With the ABC Motsepe League play-off teams, draw and fixtures confirmed two weeks ago, nine determined clubs have been preparing in earnest, with only two places up for grabs in the 2021 GladAfrica Championships (national first division).
The tournament, which will run from 9-14 November 2020 at the Vaal University of Technology in Gauteng, is a welcome return to action for clubs who have been left stranded due to the devastating coronavirus pandemic. This will only ensure that teams are fresh and even hungrier for success. However, one club that won’t be phased is none other than KwaZulu-Natal workhorses, Umvoti FC, who have been here before.
The team fell agonizingly short of promotion in 2018 but refused to give up and are now on the verge of accomplishing their goal.
A mere five years old, the Greytown based club under the guidance of prominent chairman Mr Bonginhlanla Gwala, will be going all out this time around after topping the league yet again (with only six games remaining) before Covid lockdown regulations took over.
SAFA.net caught up with club manager Mr Bongani Msomi as he offered some insight into the curtailed 2020 season as well his thoughts on the upcoming championships.
On the strange footballing year, Msomi lamented the halt in football in March.
“Covid popped up from nowhere and took us all by surprise. We felt that we were at our peak but then had to follow government rules and regulations. We had to make sure that our players were taken care of during this crisis though, but eventually things worked out and we are in the play-offs again,” said the manager.
Regarding the upcoming tournament, Msomi shared an ingenious strategy that he and his coach had for his players.
“For starters, many other clubs did complain about our insertion into the play-offs but luckily that was resolved. We actually didn’t even inform our players about the play-off news and played a couple of friendlies to see if they were match-fit and they managed to prove themselves. Some guys were there when we fell short in 2018 and have some experience to rely on now. I can safely say to our fans that we are very close to being 100% ready,” added Msomi.
The team suffered tragedy just before the 2018 play-offs with then coach Bheka Phakathi passing on from a motor vehicle accident. However, the current coaching staff have taken the team to new levels. These include head coach Dr. Mkhonza, his assistant Nkululeko “Chicken” Nzama as well as goalkeeping coach Mncedisi Ncala.
The team have big goals and are as ambitious as ever.
“We aim to play in the Premier Soccer League one day. This is a goal we are confident in achieving. We are also fortunate to have the support of the Sports and Recreation department as well as our loyal supporters,” concluded Msomi.
Follow the team on Facebook: ‘Umvoti Football Club’ and on Instagram: ‘Umvoti FC’.