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Mdaka's Marumo to gallantly fight on two different fronts

Marumo Gallants coach Raymond Mdaka says they are not prioritising the Caf Confederation Cup over the Premier Soccer League.
Marumo Gallants coach Raymond Mdaka says they are not prioritising the Caf Confederation Cup over the Premier Soccer League.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Marumo Gallants coach Raymond Mdaka says his team has no choice but “to get into that bush” as they fight glaringly different battles in domestic and continental football.

The Limpopo club are in a relegation survival scrap in the DStv Premiership, but out in Africa they are chasing glory having reached the CAF Confederation Cup semifinals.

It is a precarious situation that would see some clubs choosing one battle over the other, the bread and butter of the domestic league likely to prevail.

Gallants want it all though and, ahead of their departure for Tanzania where they will take on Young Africans in the first leg on Wednesday, Mdaka said his team is up for the dual challenge.

“We have been in this situation (for a while) and unfortunately there’s no remedy for this, We just have to get into that bush. You can’t say you are not going to Tanzania or that we want to play the league first and finish. We have to do what is supposed to be done, go to Tanzania and play that game, come back and play the second leg even before we play the last (league) game against Swallows.”

Speaking after his team had just lost 2-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, Mdaka acknowledged they have no choice but to wait things out here at home and hope for the best.

“What has to happen is for us to watch other games played until the last game and see how things go.”

Gallants are positioned 14th on the league table after 29 matches, three points ahead of bottom-placed Maritzburg United who have two more matches to complete the campaign. They are tied on points with Chippa United but the Chilli Boys have played 28 matches.

“The thinking now becomes we start calculating and doing all these other things because we thought we still had a chance. With two games left we thought if you get a point it's better than nothing. But a loss at home, it is more stressful. The situation now is that we have to start relying on other teams and relying on other games. The thinking becomes more about how do you get out of this situation.”

That thought is for later. For now, the immediate focus for Mdaka and his team is the trip to Tanzania for a clash between surprise semi-finalists who stunned the favourites in the previous rounds. Few had given Gallants and Young Africans a chance to overcome Pyramids and Rivers United respectively. But they did and each team will thus fancy their chances of making it to the finale.

Mdaka was careful, however, not to look too far ahead: “We’ve played against a number of teams in the north African countries in this tournament and we have learnt a lot. We just want to go there and play and take things a game at a go. We can’t say we will do this and do that.”

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