Aces fight for survival

One more loss and MP Black Aces could see themselves guaranteed of relegation from the top flight, but that is something they will hope to avoid when they host AmaZulu in an Absa Premiership match on Wednesday afternoon, kick-off at 15h00.

Should Aces suffer defeat in this match and Moroka Swallows win their away game against Orlando Pirates, then the Mpumalanga team’s relegation from the top flight will be mathematically confirmed.

The Aces team is well aware that they lie in a difficult position and one of their inform players, Joseph Makhanya, admits that they need to start racking up the points if they want to stay in the top flight.

“We need to start winning games if we want to survive and our main aim is obviously to survive relegation. Our win in the Nedbank Cup has given us the confidence and motivation that we can win and we can survive,” says Makhanya.

MP Black Aces recently moved into the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup with a 4-2 win over local rivals Witbank Spurs and their coach, Mark Harrison, will be hoping that leads to further success.

As Harrison explained, “Success breeds success. Defensively we were poor in the Nedbank cup against Witbank Spurs, but that is something we have worked on. Still, we scored four goals and we won the game. It is a feel good factor and that will inspire us to more victories.”

AmaZayoni’s most recent league outing was a 1-1 draw at home to Free State Stars last month. The result broke a two-game losing streak, but they have won just one of their last eight league matches.

Heading into the match Makhanya is adamant that they have to stay positive, “We have to believe we can survive relegation. We will continue to fight and never give up.”

AmaZulu, in retrospect, played to a 2-2 draw in their most recent league outing, at home to Santos. It was the Durban club’s sixth successive draw and they are unbeaten in ten league matches.

The key to their success according to their central defender Pere Ariweriyai is down to their improvement in tactics, “We now attack as a unit from the back to the front. This means there are bigger numbers when going forward. We also defend as a unit.”

Usuthu are placed ninth on the log with 29 points to their name and they are the only team outside of the top six who have a positive goal difference. For Ariweriyai he says his team’s goal is to finish well within the top eight.

“I am confident we can still make it, even into the top five, why not? We have five matches left and we want to win all of them starting with Aces. We know they are fighting for their lives and it will be tough, but we believe we can get the better of them,” suggest the defender.

In head-to-head stats, Aces and AmaZulu have met in 28 league games since 1985. Usuthu have won 12 matches to AmaZayoni’s nine, while seven encounters have been drawn. When the teams met earlier this season in a league game in KwaZulu-Natal, AmaZulu claimed a 4-0 victory.