Maluleke, Kapini, Gould bolster Sekhukhune's ranks as NFD kicks off

27 November 2020 - 16:14
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Johnny Ferreira of Sekhukhune was feeling confident ahead of Saturday's game against Royal AM at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images Johnny Ferreira of Sekhukhune was feeling confident ahead of Saturday's game against Royal AM at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa.

Sekhukhune United coach Johnny Ferreira is going to tap into the vast experience and knowledge of senior players like Jabu Maluleke, Tapuwa Kapini, Morgan Gould and Sibusiso Mbonani during the GladAfrica Championship season.

Babina Noko play their first match in the First Division on Saturday when they host Royal AM at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa, where they will be looking for a positive start.

Speaking ahead of their season opener, Ferreira said Maluleke, Kapini, Gould and Mbonani have accumulated enough experience over the years in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Ferreira also indicated he will share ideas with former star Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Alex "Barnes” Bapela, who is the team’s technical director.

“Jabu, Gould, Kapini and Mbonani roughly have 1,000 games in the PSL between them so I will be very foolish not to tap into their wealth of knowledge and wisdom,” said Ferreira, who thanked club chairman Simon Malatji and chief executive Jonas Malatji for showing confidence in him.

“There is also Alex Bapela, who will be with me outside the field of play, and I truly believe they have set me up to succeed. I will tap into their knowledge on a regular basis.

“For the senior players I have mentioned, they have a rich pedigree and I am hoping and praying their experience and knowledge will rub off on the younger ones around them. I am expecting tremendous feedback from the senior players as we will be interacting to take this club forward.”

Players signed by Sekhukhune include Sifiso Mbhele, Prince Nxumalo, Ntokozo Mtsweni, McClive Phiri, Thabang Mokoena, Ayanda Dlamini, Yusuf Maart and Siyabulela Shai.

Sixty points historically wins you the NFD and ... is the minimum amount of points we are looking at this season.
Johnny Ferreira

“This is a complete new team because we started from scratch. With the backing of the chairman Simon Malatji,  CEO Jonas Malatji and technical director Alex Bapela, we have recruited between 20 and 30 of the most talented potential players in the league.

“The mandate with the infrastructure I have been given is that we don’t want to be in the bottom three. Sixty points historically wins you the National First Division (NFD) and that is our main focus. Sixty points is the minimum amount of points we are looking at this season.”

On Royal AM, Ferreira said he is not worried his side will be up against a team they know little about.

“We intend to start the season on a positive note and we are certain the team is ready and will be coming home with the three points after the first game,” he said.

“I expect our players to play simple football. I am not overly worried about the strategy of the opposition. I have never been like that.

“Our focus is on my team and how we are going to set ourselves up for this next match. We are expecting a tough encounter. It’s the first game of the season and I would like to see how the players respond in different scenarios during the game.”

GladAfrica Championship opening fixtures:

Friday: Cape Town Spurs v Polokwane City (Cape Town Stadium), Cape Town All Stars v JDR Stars (Parow Park Stadium)        

Saturday: Free State Stars v Uthongathi FC (Goble Park Stadium), Sekhukhune United v Royal AM (Makhulong Stadium), TS Sporting v Cape United (Kabokweni Stadium),

Sunday: Pretoria University v Richards Bay (ABSA Tuks Stadium, all matches 3.30pm)