#TuksSport: Tlisane Motaung believes AmaTuks can still be better

Posted on March 25, 2024

"David versus Goliath" is how many might perceive AmaTuks' quarterfinal clash against Mamelodi Sundowns in the 2024 Nedbank Cup edition. 

Considering the head-to-head results between the two sides, AmaTuks has yet to secure a victory against Sundowns, managing only three league draws. But believe this: AmaTuks head coach, Tlisane Motaung, will keep him and his players from being fazed by statistics like these. 

Since he took over the reins as Motaung, he has instilled a culture in which every player realises that nothing is impossible with hard work and dedication. 

Frank Mpedi, who has over 100 AmaTuks caps, said this after he and his teammates outplayed Moroka Swallows to qualify for the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals.

"We play every match as if it were our last and are getting the desired results. So far, we have beaten two Premier League teams in the Nedbank Cup. Much has to do with the hard work we put in during training. It makes it easier to be at our best when we play.

"From a personal perspective, I wanted us to beat Swallows, as in 2009 they beat AmaTuks 5-0 in the Nedbank Cup final. I did not play that game, but I am now playing. It means AmaTuks history is my history. The game I played against Swallows, which 'hurt', was in 2022, when they beat us 1-0 to qualify for the Premier League."

For the record, Cape Town Spurs (1-0) are the other DStv Premiership team, AmaTuks has beaten. AmaTuks is having a dream season. They are currently the only National First Division team to qualify for the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals. 

In the 2023/24 Motsepe Foundation Championship season, AmaTuks has won 10 of the 21 games played, drew 8, and only lost three. The last time they lost was November last year. Currently, they are second on the log, only one point behind Magesi.

According to Motaung, This did not just happen. 

"After 2022, we lost ten key players to Premiership teams. It meant most of last year was spent rebuilding the team. We have also worked hard to fix critical aspects of our game plan. The goal is to be competitive every time we take to the field. We are now at a moment where the players are genuinely gelling. Credit must go to the players. But we must remain humble because we have not yet achieved what we set out to do."

Asked how AmaTuks' strategy has changed from the way they played in the past, Motaung answered by saying little has changed.

"If the situation allows, we go wide and bring crosses. One of our strengths is the speed at which we play. Much emphasis is also put on pressuring our opponents when they have the ball to force them to make mistakes.

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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