We will bounce back, says Zwane coach

MZOXOLO BUDAZA

Zwane were on a roll in the early stages of the tournament, cruising to the knockout stages with a 3-1 win over Mitchell’s Plain’s FC Tafelzught, a 2-1 victory against Two Oceans Academy and playing to a goalless draw against Salt River Blackpool.

They scored five goals and conceded only two in three group-stage matches to set up a date with the red-hot Glendene United side.

The Lansdowne-based side showed just why they are highly-rated, winning 3-1 to book their spot in the semi-finals.

Although quick to congratulate his opponents who eventually lifted the trophy, Zwane coach Thando Sodinga had nothing but praise for his young side.

“Glendene is a big team with loads of experience. Our players tried hard but lack of experience worked to our disadvantage. I think our boys were not aggressive enough in that game but, I am not worried, they will gain more experience,” said Sodinga.

“We went to that game with a plan and that plan was to minimise their spaces by shutting down the midfield and attacking them with short passes.

The boys executed the plan well but Glendene stood their ground. We also knew it was going to be tough for us in that match, as we went there with a makeshift backline. At left back, for instance, we used a winger and the boy did well under the circumstances,” said Sodinga.

Despite going down in the quarter-finals, Sodinga insists things went according to plan.

This, he said, was because they wanted to see if the players, which he said were mostly 18 and 19 year olds, could handle the pressure that comes with playing in a tournament like that one.

“The level of performance was high and each team we came up against was fully prepared. Our eyes are already on next year’s under-19 Premier Cup,” he said.

Looking back, Sodinga said the technical team and the players have learnt valuable lessons, including the need to put more emphasis on the players’ character on and off the field. That, he said, doesn’t come overnight but through playing regularly.

“We also noted that we don’t have to change our style of play to suit the conditions. We changed the way we played a lot in this tournament and, each time we changed, we found ourselves on a back foot,” he said.

Sodinga said the tournament was a good preparation for the upcoming Kenpark United under-23 tournament.

“There will be a number of good teams in that tournament and looking at the team we have right now, we have a realistic chance of getting to the semi final,” he said.

Sodinga said things have been going well for his side as they are on top of Gugulethu LFA’s premier division with 17 points, having won five and drew two of their seven league matches.