Image: File / Zingisa Mvumvu

Mthatha Bucks coach Sibusiso Mapompo says the former National First Division (NFD) side is in it to win it.

Mapompo was referring to the ABC Motsepe League title as they kick off their third-tier league campaign against the newly promoted Amavarara at the Mthatha Bucks Stadium on Wednesday at 4pm.

Bucks were kicked out of the NFD last season after losing 16 matches, with 10 draws, and only four wins – closing their campaign with 22 points.

But Mapompo, who was one of the longest-serving strikers and a former assistant coach at Bucks, said there was no consolation prize in the Motsepe League, and they had to fight for promotion from the onset.

“With this game I want to see the boys embracing the pressures of playing for Mthatha Bucks, and we have accepted that we are no longer at NFD.

“We are here now, and it’s going to be very difficult to win the league.

“But we know if we do the right things and give our best, and remain committed, we can achieve that goal,” said Mapompo.

He said kicking off their Motsepe League fixtures against the Komani-based outfit that has been gunning for promotion for more than three seasons – Amavarara – without success would be interesting.

‘Amavarara is a team that has qualified to play in this league. They’ve been pushing and I think it’s about five seasons they’ve been looking for promotion now.

“We played against them three weeks ago, and from what I saw they have a good team that is ready to compete in this league.

“Because they beat us 2-nil and they are going to come here with confidence they got from that friendly game’s result.

“But they must expect us to go all out, because it’s no longer a friendly, especially since we are playing at home.”

This week marks the fifth week of Mthatha Bucks’ preseason preparations, and Mapompo said it was a matter of time before they wrap up those preps.

“The boys are ready and the combinations have been looking very good at training. We have experienced players and good U23 players that are still hungry.”

He said they might have played in the second tier league for three seasons, but they were not going underestimate any club in this division.

“We’ve been out of this league for three seasons, so we’re not going to say we know this league – and we are just going to win without struggle.

“Because there are good coaches here and quality players – plus football changes in every division in our days.

“So we have prepared for the fight which promises to be challenging as everyone has got one thing in mind – championship title.”

Other fixtures:

Bush Bucks v Bizana Pondo Chiefs (North End Stadium, EL at 4pm), Future Tigers v Birmingham City (Rosedale Stadium, Langa, Uitenhage at 6pm), Peace Makers v Swartkops Valley United Brothers (NU 2 Stadium, Motherwell at 6pm), Tornado v Highbury (Orlando Sport Fields, Mdantsane at 7pm), PE Stars v Sibanye (Saints Field, Gelvandale, PE at 4pm), The Guys v Matta Milan (Mqeshwa Sports Field, Mbizana at 4pm), Butterworth v Yakha United (WSU Sports Field, Butterworth 4pm)

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