Philani Shange relishes role as Uthongathi skipper

Philani Shange of Uthongathi shields the ball away from Clint Fredericks of Ubuntu Cape Town./Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Philani Shange of Uthongathi shields the ball away from Clint Fredericks of Ubuntu Cape Town./Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Almost-forgotten former Golden Arrows and AmaZulu midfielder Philani Shange relishes the opportunity to captain National First Division (NFD) side Uthongathi.

The KwaZulu-Natal side has a chance to squeeze into promotion playoffs berths, and Shange believes they can clinch the promotion with nine games to go in the season.

Uthongathi boosted their promotion hopes after beating third-placed Royal Eagles 2-1 in the eThekwini derby at the weekend.

Now playing mostly as a holding midfielder, Shange has been influential in Cane Cutters' resurgence.

"I never expected I would captain this team. It's amazing. I am very happy for this opportunity," Shange said.

"The club has shown that they have faith in me and I am humbled. I am happy to impart my knowledge to the upcoming players in the team.

"We believe we can go to the Premiership at the end of season. We have a strong team, made up of hungry youngsters and seasoned-campaigners. We must make sure we at least not lose all our remaining games, especially at home."

Primarily an attacking-midfielder gifted with skill, Shange, 33, admits that he's still learning to master his new role, but is enjoying it.

"All my life I have been playing as a winger. dribbling and all those things. But things has changed because now I am an enforcer, doing the dirty work for the team. I am still learning in this new position," noted Shange.

"I still feel very strong. I cannot be thinking about retirement because I still want to contribute to the game. I love football and I think I still have more years before hanging up my boots."

NFD results:

AmaTuks 3, Ajax 0; Uthongathi 2, Eagles 1; Ubuntu 0, Mbombela 1; Cosmos 0, Galaxy 1; Kings 2, Maccabi 2; Spurs 1, Richards Bay 1; Stellenbosch 2, Sporting 0; Umoya 1, Tshakhuma 1.

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