victory tastes sweet

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Bay United players have been given a R1 million reward to share among themselves for their efforts in gaining promotion to the elite Absa Premiership next season.

Other staff members and the technical staff will be rewarded separately for their part in the achievement.

This was confirmed yesterday as club boss Sipho Pityana unveiled a five-year plan to conquer local football while looking at beefing up the squad for the immediate task that lies ahead.

To this end United are also looking at meeting their sponsors Volkswagen to renegotiate a better deal now that they are with the big boys.

United have stepped into the void in the Eastern Cape left by demise of Bush Bucks from the elite league a few seasons ago.

The Port Elizabeth side qualified for the Absa Premiership after beating both Dynamos and FC AK in the National First Division playoffs.

United are the second top-flight team to come from the Friendly City. The first, Michau Warriors, was relegated at the end of the 1996-1997 season with Witbank Black Aces and both never returned to the paid ranks.

Warriors finished 17th after playing 34 games and collecting 35 points, and Aces were last with 19 points from the same number of games.

United qualified for the elite league in their third season in the National First Division. They surprised all and sundry when, after finishing second on the log to Maritzburg United in the Coastal Stream, they went on to beat the two Inland Stream sides to win promotion.

The side's general manager, Senzo Mazingisa, said they were under severe pressure because they did not have enough time to look for quality players.

"We have just completed the national playoffs and next month the Absa Premiership kicks off.

"We don't have enough time but we'll give our players two weeks' rest before we start preparing for the tough league," he said.

"We're aware of the challenges ahead but we're undoubtedly going to meet them head-on. We'll also try to get about four quality players to beef up the team for the new season."

Mazingisa explained that they have a five-year plan to stay in the paid ranks and then start challenging for the league title.

"We're not going to do away with some of the players who have not played in the first team, but some will be off-loaded to our Vodacom League team."

Mazingisa added that they will be moving to a bigger venue, the Telkom Park Stadium in Port Elizabeth, which will be their second home ground.

"We'll use it against teams that attract big crowds and we'll use the Wolfson Stadium in KwaZakhele for those with fewer spectators."