TABLE-topping Mthatha side, Tembu Royals, believe they are well on course with their preparations for their clash against AmaZulu in the Nedbank Cup later this month.This comes after their 2-1 win in a much anticipated top-of-the-table Safa Second Division clash against arch-rivals Mthatha Bucks on Wednesday.
The result ensured the Royals not only keep their unbeaten streak but they also climbed to the top of the standings.
They now lead Mthatha Bucks by one point with a game in hand.
Royals went into the Wednesday game as slight favourites after they beat A1 Stars 2-0 while their rivals were coming from a 1-1 draw against Tornado.
Royals coach Lwandile Magagula said he was satisfied by his team’s performance and was confident this would give a much-needed boost to his side for the away Nedbank clash.
Magagula, however, expressed concern on how his team, despite a spirited first half performance, allowed Bucks to grab a goal early in the second half.
Royals went into the first half on a high note grabbing their opening goal in the 10th minute when Sichaba Mofokeng finished a well-worked move from the left wing.
Phikolethu Spelman calmly slotted in a cheeky goal between the legs of the Bucks’ goalkeeper 11 minutes later.
Royals controlled much of the game in the first half, winning possession in the middle and making probing runs down the left. However, as early as the second minute in the second half, Bucks captain Sibusiso Mampompo slotted in a well-taken free-kick.
The goal signalled what looked like a Mthatha Bucks comeback as they won two more free-kicks at the edge of the box but both were sent over the crossbar.
Bucks’ comeback received a major blow when right-back Xolisa Sifunda was shown a straight red card for dangerous play 25 minutes into the second half, but Royals failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
“It worries me [not attacking more] because I think they were too cautious and they didn’t want to concede,” said Magagula.
“It is something we need to work on because by doing so, we are inviting pressure.”
Bucks team manager, Lunga Tukute, said not all was lost as it was only the first half of the season with still a lot of points to play for.
“A league is a marathon, this is just the first round and we are still left with a lot of games,” said Tukute.
He said they would use the transfer window period this weekend to beef up their squad in their bid to regain the top spot.