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Rookie status proves advantageous for Upington City

Coach Nkosi says NFD rivals used to underestimate his team

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Upington City coach Cornelius Thulani Nkosi
Upington City coach Cornelius Thulani Nkosi
Image: BackpagePix/Gavin Barker

Upington City coach Thulani Nkosi has explained how being rookies in the Motsepe Foundation Championship is proving advantageous for them.

Upington earned their berth in the first division by winning the ABC Motsepe Foundation national play-offs in June. Bafana Ba Gucci have had a brilliant start to what’s their maiden season in the second tier, winning five of their 14 outings so far with six draws and three defeats. Upington are four points behind leaders Orbit College.

“I think being a new team is an advantage for us. We are coming from a very disadvantaged area... it’s an outskirt. Most teams didn’t think we could beat them and they underestimated us, so that plays to our advantage. You can see some of them even now that they undermine us,” Nkosi told Sowetan yesterday.

The 47-year-old Nkosi, who worked as an assistant coach at clubs like Dynamos, United FC, Cape Town All Stars, TS Galaxy and Richards Bay among others, also lauded the role played by senior players such as Victor Bakah, Vuyisile Ntombayithethi, Keletso Makgalwa and Bonginkosi Makume at the Northern Cape-based Bafana Ba Gucci.

“Our experienced guys are playing a huge role in the team. Players like Bakah, Ntombayithethi, Makgalwa and Makume among others are tried and tested soldiers,” Nkosi said.

“They bring about that calmness and they also play a huge role off the field in terms of guiding the younger ones... I am very sensitive to the dressing room, so these guys are important in that regard.”

Nkosi also reiterated they aim to win promotion albeit they are not too focused on the teams ahead of them. Upington focus is on the Nedbank Cup preliminary round, where they face Milford at Princess Magogo Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

“Yes we are ambitious and we also want to win the league but we are not too focused on trying to leapfrog the teams ahead of us. We take one game as it comes and that has helped us to remain grounded,” Nkosi said.

NFD results

Casric 6-1 Orbit; Milford 1-0 Rovers; Venda 2-0 Marumo; Callies 2-1 Baroka; Upington 2-0 Maritzburg; Magesi 0-2 AmaTuks; JDR 1-2 Lions; La Masia 2-0 Leopards

Nedbank Prelim round fixtures (all at 3pm)

Tuesday: Rovers v Marumo, Isak Steyl; Orbit v JDR, OIimpia Park; Baroka v La Masia, Global; Casric v Lions, Giyani; Magesi v Callies, Old Peter Mokaba

Wednesday: Venda v AmaTuks, Thohoyandou; Milford v Upington, Princess Magogo; Maritzburg v Leopards, Sugar Ray Xulu

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