by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – LEHLONOLO Nonyane believes Marumo Gallants can go all the way and attain a double by finishing in the top eight as well as defending their Nedbank Cup title.
The Limpopo-based side has picked form at the right moment in the season as the DStv Premiership enters its final stretch and the Nedbank Cup reaches the semifinal stage.
Bahlabane Ba Ntwa are in a good position in both fronts, having reached the last four of the Cup and two points off the top eight.
Gallants face fellow Limpopo side, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), in the semifinals of the Nedbank-sponsored competition on April 30 for a berth in a second successive final.
In the league, the 11th placed team has six games left, starting with a home fixture against relegation-haunted Moroka Swallows on Sunday.
Captain Nonyane said both missions – the Cup and top eight finish- are equally crucial and neither would be prioritised than the other.
“They are both important and doable,” he said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
“I believe winning three from last six games guarantees us top eight and we are one step away from a second dream final in succession,” he added.
Nonyane is confident coach Dan Malesela’s side can cope with the demands of a potentially tiring run in.
Fellow top eight hopefuls only have the league to focus on while the involvement in two competitions will test the depth of Gallants.
“I believe we stand a very good chance,” Nonyane said.
“It’s only maybe a month left before the season ends. So, we will give our last breath to every game. We have capable players to finish the job at hand. It’s all about believing. That’s all!” Nonyane said.
Gallants have turned their season around after a difficult start to the 2021/22 campaign.
On paper, they have the upper hand in the semifinal against TTM after avoiding Mamelodi Sundowns and Royal AM, who will contest the other Nedbank Cup semifinal.
Gallants must be wary of the giant killers, who have knocked out Golden Arrows and Supersport United in the route to the semis.
“I wouldn’t say it’s an easy draw because it’s proven that in the Nedbank Cup most upsets come from lower division teams beating Premiership teams,” Nonyane explained.
“That it’s a derby also doesn’t make it easy, after we played a derby with Baroka (in the quarterfinals),” he added.
“TTM are in the semis not by chance. They deserve it. We will give them the necessary respect until we get into the same pitch.”
Nonyane has been a consistent performer, playing 27 games this season across the league, Nedbank Cup and the CAF Confederation Cup.
– CAJ News