Promotion more important, trophy a cherry on top – Bucks
Mthatha Bucks are excting at gaining promotion to the National First Division (NFD) and they say being crowned champions will be a cherry on top.
They had to wait until the last day of the group stage matches to confirm their passage to the NFD. Mthatha Bucks beat Magesi FC, Hungry Lions, and North West Shining Stars to promotion.
The Eastern Cape side finished top of Group B with six points from two wins and one loss. They were one point ahead of Magesi FC, two adrift of home side Hungry Lions and five more than Shining Stars.
On Sunday, 26 July Mthatha Bucks comes up Group A winners Mbombela United to battle it out for the champions’ trophy and one million rand on offer.
The match takes place at the De Beers Stadium in Kimberly, Northern Cape. Kick-off is at 15h00.
SAFA Media caught up with Lunga Tukute, the general manager of Mthatha Bucks to hear his thoughts.
Matlhomola Morake: What’s the feeling like of gaining promotion?
Lunga Tukute: The feeling is great, something we can’t describe. It’s long overdue for the Eastern Cape to have a team in the NFD especially our region, the OR Tambo District, formerly the Transkei region where it is known as a footballing area.
MM: Mthatha Bucks has a rich history in football, social media was abuzz yesterday with people showing excitement.
LT: People have been starved of football in the Eastern Cape, Mthatha Bucks was the only hope for them. So having professional soccer in our region is going to benefit the region, and the people to see professional football on their doorstep that they have been waiting for for such a long time.
MM: And what is your target this coming season in the NFD?
LT: This season we will try and settle, the season is starting in the next three weeks so next season we will try and compete for the honours.
MM: You have produced great players before, Vincent Sokhela, John Mbidzo and Brendon Augustine, among others….
LT: We will target our own area, it will be lovely to produce players from the Umtata area and the Eastern Cape in general, that will help us a great deal. You must remember that Mthatha Bucks is a home-grown team, we did not buy our status so for the support going forward it will be very nice to see own home-grown talent make it at the top.
MM: PSL aspirations?
LT: It is our wish, but we know it is not going to be easy because NFD is a very tough league that’s why I say we have to settle first and then target promotion next season.
MM: And the squad you have currently, will they hold their own in the NFD?
LT: Most definitely, we have signed experienced players from Blackburn Rovers like Welcome Qalanto and Nkani Zwane so I believe they help us a lot – it’s like we knew we going to be at this level. But we will try to add up espcially because of the rule of the U23 players in the NFD because most of the players in the squad are over that age.
MM: What is more important, promotion or becoming champions?
LT: Without doubt gaining promotion weighs more for us, the champions tag will just be a cherry on top but obviously when you are there you will want to win the final, so we will go out there and do our best. And remember also that you can’t fight for the trophy if you don’t gain promotion, so we had to take it step by step.
MM: Tomorrow you facing Mbombela United, your thoughts?
LT: It is going to be a great game, even though we can see fatigue is creeping in for both teams but we will push for that winner’s cheque, which will be a cherry on top, but I hope we will crowned champions tomorrow.