by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – TS Galaxy hero, Given Msimango, believes the side has the quality to transform from relegation survivors to challenge for honours next season.
His bold projection comes days after he inspired his team to narrowly survive the dreaded axe from the DStv Premiership.
The centreback was the unlikely hero as The Rockets dramatically retained their status in the elite league on their last game
Msimango netted the only goal of the match, a stoppage time winner to settle a tense six-pointer away to Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Apparently, he loves scoring against Chippa United.
His only other topflight goal came against the same Chilli Boys back in 2019. It was a 2-1 home win while he was in the colours of the now-defunct Highlands Park.
In an interview, Msimango expressed delight at the latest goal that surely holds legendary status at Galaxy.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have helped the team escape the clutches of relegation or playoffs,” Msimango told CAJ News Africa.
“Scoring a goal is always a nice feeling but this one in particular was very important for the team. It capped a good team performance on the day,” Msimango said.
“We managed to salvage our season and stay in the topflight. That’s what is important. I’m happy to have been able to contribute,” the central defender said modestly.
In a day of high drama in the DStv Premiership, The Rockets finished 13th and four points clear of the bottom two, namely relegated Baroka and playoffs-bound Moroka Swallows.
Msimango believes coach Sead Ramović’s side is too talented to be battling relegation. Hence he projects a finish that is even higher than the famed top eight projected by his coach.
“I feel we can achieve much more, greater heights in terms of league standing, somewhere in the top four or top five teams just based on the quality of the players we have and the football style we play as a team. I feel we deserve to be up there among the best in the league.”
Galaxy are developing a knack for dragging their fans to final day emotional roller coasters. In their debut campaign last season, they lost out on a top eight berth to yesteryear kings, Kaizer Chiefs.
It was Galaxy’s debut campaign.
“I hope we compete in all fronts,” Msimango said of the next season.
“Obviously, we have missed out on the MTN 8 but we want to be competitive in all cups and hopefully get into a final, and even win it. You never know, this is football. I feel these are the objectives we must look forward to as a team and individuals,” Msimango said.
The 25-year-old insisted flirting with relegation is not a true reflection of their abilities.
“We have good individual players. The quality within the team is so high I feel we under-performed,” he said.
Msimango believes the players owe Ramovic a positive finish next season, in order to justify his high rating.
The German-born former goalkeeper was appointed in the first half of the season as Galaxy were rock bottom in the standings.
Ramovic has maintained his ambitions of finishing next season in the top eight.
“From now on, TS Galaxy won’t fight relegation. Our goal is now to be in the top eight,” he assured, according to the club’s official website.
Tim Sukazi, the Galaxy chairman, rates him so highly he has mentioned him in the same breath as the fabled Romanian, Ted Dumitru.
Msimango concurred with the club boss, describing Ramovic as “a very skilled coach who understands the game and is specific in what he wants.”
“It’s been a pleasure working alongside him and he comes highly rated as the chairman has mentioned,” the player from Brakpan said.
“As players, we can reward him by playing well in the coming season to prove the quality that he has and show the quality the team possesses,” Msimango said.
The 2021/22 season was crisis-laden for the sole Premiership side from Mpumalanga.
It included the manhandling of Sukazi at the Orlando Pirates in December.
Ramovic was earlier appointed in place of Owen da Gama, who exited after poor results.
A flurry of suspensions from red cards battered their campaign.
Msimango has played every single minute of 17 consecutive matches since his return from injury in December, again against Chippa United.
– CAJ News