By CHRIS TOTOBELA
Makhanda representatives in the South African Breweries (SAB) Regional League returned to training in preparation for the upcoming season.
Maru FC, Jacaranda Aces, and City Pirates will lock horns with this region’s best. Maru had a good season and played scintillating football. They seemed solid in all departments and had great depth in their squad. They have a lot of talented youngsters in the team who have plenty of pace, although sometimes they seem to rush things and lack composure at crucial moments. Among the three teams from Makhanda, Maru is undoubtedly the favourite to challenge for the crown, and with the talent and the great squad they had, it will only be complacency that will stand in their way.
Jacaranda Aces started last season very well but faded towards the end. They also had a good squad, but team selection and tactics seemed to be their downfall. I still believe that the Aces could have done much better with a good playmaker and reader of the game. They relied too much on the pace of their speedy wingers and forwards and struggled against formidable sides, which kept their shape so well throughout the game.
The Aces have an excellent squad and only need to beef up their defence and midfield ahead of the new season. They also need to be clinical in front of goals, kill the game as soon as possible, and not allow opponents back in the game. They need to stamp their authority in home games and dictate matters.
City Pirates are returning to the regional league a season after they were relegated. They will have to work extra hard to impact this league. They also need to beef up their squad, especially in defence. They have an excellent young team, but most of their youngsters seem to take a bit long on the ball while allowing opponents to regroup. Pirates also need to sharpen their striking force and get a goal poacher. It will also be essential for them to win home games, as collecting points on the road will always be challenging.
Local football lovers only expect a good showing from our local representatives in the new season, and they can all count on the home support as our local fans always pack Dlepu Stadium.