Malawian coach John Maduka has praised his Royal AM charges for their resilience, which has seen them rise to position three on South Africa’s DStv Premiership log table.
Royal edged 10-man SuperSport United 2-1 on Tuesday evening to go up the table to 17 points from nine matches, two behind joint leaders Mamelodi Sundowns and second-placed Stellenbosch.
SuperSport appeared to be heading for victory but Royal snatched victory from the jaws of defeat through Zukile Mkhize and substitute Menzi Masuku, who scored a goal each in two minutes to knock the wind out of the visitors’ sails.
Thamsanqa Gabuza put United ahead in the 30th minute of the match played at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban.
The result saw Royal continuing to grow in confidence and proving to be one of the Premiership’s surprise packages this season.
Maduka told timeslive.co.za that he drills into his players a mentality that it is not over until the final whistle.
“Good game at the end but the way we started was not good. Overall performance, it was bad in the first half, we did not play our game, but in the second half it was a very much improved performance and that is why we managed to get a win.
“We started very slow and lost possession where we were not supposed to, and we gave away possession so cheaply and, again, our decision-making was not right, especially when we were in possession of the ball,” he said.
Maduka said despite collecting full points, there were some areas he needed to work on.
“We started well defensively but we were not functioning going forward. We were not patient enough to wait for the right moment to be able to punish our opponent. Second half, after we spoke, we said no, let us be patient and play our game and the goals will come.”
“The second half saw a very much improved performance and we did well even before they got the red card, you could see that we were taking the game to them and created so many problems for them in the final third,” he said.
Maduka said after SuperSport’s Luke Fleurs was red-carded; his charges created many chances after introducing more creative players.
“We just had to go forward because at that time we were 1-0 down. We had nothing to lose and wanted to take the game to the opponents. We knew that they would park the bus and try to stop us penetrating them. It worked for us after introducing those players [Masuku and Mabena].
“They came at the right time and we managed to take the game to them. We created a couple of chances but unfortunately they did not go in. But we did not stop there because we are a team that believes that we can only lose a match after the final whistle,” timeslive.co.za quotes him as saying.
Maduka continues to impress in South Africa after winning five matches, drawing two and losing two.
Royal’s next match is another home tie against Baroka on Sunday.