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Call Uthongathi the phoenix - Johnny Ferreira

High-flying Uthongathi coach Johnny Ferreira.
High-flying Uthongathi coach Johnny Ferreira.

"Call us the phoenix, we've risen from the ashes."

This is how Uthongathi coach Johnny Ferreira reacted to his side dislodging JDR Stars at the summit of the GladAfrica Championship.

Still with a game in hand, Uthongathi surged into top spot after their 2-1 win over fellow KwaZulu-Natal side Royal Eagles on Saturday. JDR, who had led the pack for seven weeks, surrendered their lead to draw 1-1 at TS Galaxy on Sunday.

"Remember, we won our first three games [against Ajax Cape Town, Steenberg and Pretoria University] and then we got a little smack from Free State Stars. So call us the phoenix," Ferreira told Sowetan yesterday.

"We've risen from the ashes. The [3-0] defeat to Free State Stars was a wake-up call. They caught us off guard. After that game it's where we started to play the way we think is good."

He feels it's premature to tell if they can maintain top spot until the end of the season.

"It's still too soon to say we can stay top until the end. We are looking at five matches at a time; we are looking to win three out of five all the time. Overall, we are aiming to collect 18 wins out of 30 games. We can draw, say seven of out those," Ferreira said.

"If we can do this successfully, I think we can be in the top three at the end of the season. Last season we finished fifth with 44 points, so we want to do better than that. Stellenbosch won it with 56 points. that was a 12-point difference. We want to find those 12 points somewhere this season."

NFD results:

Galaxy 1, JDR 1; Richards Bay 1, Kings 2; AmaTuks 2, Mbombela 0; FS Stars 0, Umoya 0; Eagles 1, Uthongathi 2; Steenberg 2, Tshakhuma 0; Sporting 2, Cosmos 0; Swallows 3, Ajax 2.

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