NFD campaigners Richards Bay might have established themselves as giant-killers of late, but the KwaZulu-Natal outfit insists they are not chasing big things – yet.
So said Natal Rich Boyz boss Jomo Biyela, who added that there was still a way to go in its three-year project.
“We were clear that this was a three-year project and we are almost 18 months in,” said Biyela, who assumed ownership of the renamed club after Thanda Royal Zulu sold its premier division status to AmaZulu in 2017.
Richards Bay are now in their second season campaigning in the NFD, and Biyela pointed out that “there is no pressure on the team to win promotion”.
“There are no miracles in football. Even our coach [Brandon Truter] knows that there is no pressure as long as we cement our position in the NFD,” said Biyela of his team, which was placed seventh before this weekend’s fixtures.
“But we are not saying that if the opportunity arises we are not going to grab it. Next year, we are definitely going for promotion.”
Biyela is still impressed by his team’s recent results, which suggest Richards Bay are gradually turning into a force to be reckoned with.
The side knocked out Nedbank Cup champions Free State Stars from the competition to grab the R7 million first prize last weekend.
Before progressing to the Last 16 of the Ke Yona competition, the KwaZulu-Natal side had collected four points off the promotion-chasing pack, courtesy of a win over leaders Stellenbosch FC and a draw at Royal Eagles.
Bay are the only team to have beaten Stellenbosch FC twice this campaign as their 2-0 win in Cape Town three weeks ago inflicted a first home defeat on Steve Barker’s team.
Biyela also attributed his club’s swift progress to investing in home-grown players including Sandile Mthethwa, the tall defender who is on loan from Orlando Pirates.
The 21-year-old hails from the KwaZulu-Natal coastal town and he has been one of the most important players in the team.
Mthethwa provided the assist to the second goal that was scored by fellow former Pirates player Siyanda Ngubo in their elimination of Stars at Goble Park in Bethlehem last Saturday.
The two players bring to the team their experience of having represented national junior teams internationally – and Bafana Bafana.
Mthethwa, who represented the country at the 2017 Under-20 World Cup, was part of coach Stuart Baxter’s recent Cosafa Cup squad.
The Natal Rich Boyz will host TS Sporting from Mpumalanga today.