Why Royal AM coach John Maduka urges troops not to give an inch

John Maduka head coach of Royal AM is interviewed before the DStv Premiership 2023/24 football match between Cape Town City and Royal AM at Cape Town Stadium

Royal AM coach John Maduka has urged his players to forget that struggling Cape Town Spurs could easily punch above their weight in their DStv Premiership clash on Saturday. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Nov 25, 2023


Royal AM coach John Maduka has urged his players to forget that struggling Cape Town Spurs are rock bottom on the DStv Premiership standings.

Spurs, who will have Ernst Middendorp in his first match as their head coach, host Royal AM at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (star at 5.45pm).

“Spurs are actually doing well,” said former Malawi international Maduka.

“They are a good team and I think if they keep on playing like that (after defeating Orlando Pirates), they’ll give problems to other sides.

‘Working hard’

“You can see that they’re working very, very hard. It’ll be very interesting going forward.

“They are not a team that you can just underestimate, thinking that you just go there and walk onto the pitch and take the points.

“They have been fighting. Sometimes luck hasn't always been on their side, so it will be tough for us.”

Eight points separate the two teams on the log, and Maduka said this could be misleading.

“If you look at the log, it’s a very tricky log. You can relax maybe thinking that you’re No 6 or No 7.

“If you lose two games and suddenly you drop down drastically. On the other hand, if you are at the bottom and you win two or three games, you suddenly find that you are in the top eight.”

Spurs also have a derby on their hands on Tuesday, when they face Stellenbosch at the same stadium.

Spurs sit bottom of the table with 10 losses from 11 matches, but Maduka says their last home game against Orlando Pirates, where they registered their only win of the season, was a warning sign.

Looking for momentum

Royal AM goes into the game in 14th place in the standings on 11 points from 11 matches.

Meanwhile, Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler says they could have done without the two-week break, enforced by the Fifa window for Fifa World Cup qualifiers, as they look to continue their winning ways against Lamontville Golden Arrows tomorrow.

City go into the match at Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale having set a new club record of five league wins in a row, after they beat struggling Royal AM in their last encounter.

“We come up against a team that has always been a difficult team for us, even though we have, over past seasons, beaten them. The games were always extremely tough,” said Tinkler.

“It won’t be easy because we lost to them recently in the Carling Knockout, but we go into the game on the back of five league wins, so we need to go into the game with a lot of belief, a lot of confidence and a lot of morale, but at the same time beware of any complacency. They have lost their last three games, so their confidence and morale are not where ours should be.

“We need to play to our advantage, go there and ensure we put on a good performance and ultimately ensure we try and come back with maximum points.

“But, as I said before, it will not be an easy game.”

Keep it going

Meanwhile, Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker is hoping to maintain the consistency of a five-match unbeaten streak ahead of today’s clash against AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Stellenbosch are hoping to extend the club’s five-match unbeaten streak across all competitions.

“The mood is good, and we’re coming off quite a decent spell, with the team being unbeaten in our last five matches,” said Barker.

“We’ve now been getting the team organised for what will be a very tough match because AmaZulu have shown that they are a difficult team to play against this season, and a difficult one to score against.”