Richards Bay must ‘dig deep’ in decisive PSL play-off with AmaTuks

Coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi has seen Richards Bay not only avoid defeat, but also not concede a goal in the play-offs. Photo: BackpagePix

Coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi has seen Richards Bay not only avoid defeat, but also not concede a goal in the play-offs. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 15, 2024


DStv Premiership side Richards Bay have been placed in the driving seat ahead of their decisive clash against the University of Pretoria in the promotion-relegation play-offs.

The Natal Rich Boyz will travel to the Tuks Stadium today (3pm start) with ambitions of retaining their top-flight status by completing the double over their opponents.

The KwaZulu-Natal side were boosted by Wednesday’s draw between Tuks and Baroka FC, which has put them in prime position to ensure yet another season among the elites of South African football.

Richards Bay have gone about their business in the most professional manner by not only avoiding defeat, but are also yet to concede a goal in their first two encounters in the play-offs.

Club head coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi witnessed his side struggle against Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele last time they took to the field, as they failed to lay a glove on Baroka and subsequently drew the match.

Despite these hardships, Vilakazi said their previous result only raised the ante for them as they will now seek nothing but a win on enemy territory in their next match.

“It didn’t suit our style of play or our image because we thought that today was going to be a different approach, compared to the approach that we had against AmaTuks. But I am happy with the results,” he said after his side’s match against Baroka.

“Obviously we were looking for three points, but it was just not to be. I must accept the fact that the conditions were not suitable for us.

“We still need to fight and dig deep in terms of making sure that we win against AmaTuks.”

The last time these two sides met, Richards Bay orchestrated and executed a tactical master-class against a robust Tuks side, and happily took the full haul of points in Umlazi.

Tuks have frequently been questioned for their very direct and aggressive playing philosophy.

The Pretoria-based outfit are on the verge of missing out on promotion for the second time in four seasons, having stumbled at the play-offs in 2022 as well.

Many questions were posed about their approach to games, as well as the long-term effect it has on the players’ bodies at this late stage of the season.

However, head coach Tlisane Motaung has remained unshaken in his decision to impose his team on the opposition, and detailed how the playing personnel suits their plan to run the opposition ragged.

“We don’t change it,” said Motaung during a press conference recently.

“That’s what brought us here, (and) since I took over, we have been playing like this and we have never finished outside the top eight.

“So, I don’t see the reason why we should be worrying ourselves with something different.

“And also, that is informed by the type of players I have.

“When you have a striker like (Thabang) Sibanyoni, why would you waste his ability on aerial duels?

“When you have Kamohelo Pheeane... For me, it’s a system that suits us. We apply ourselves well.”