Limping Rangers to face Wanderers

by Kamlesh Gosai

While injuries and the unavailability of foreign players hinder Manning Rangers from fielding their strongest line-up at the Chatsworth Stadium on Friday night, their opponents African Wanderers have a fully fit squad of players to work with.

Wanderers have conceded home ground advantage to Rangers but club PRO Junior Njiyela believes their young injury-free squad is capable of executing coach Mario Tuani's game-plan to perfection. He said training has been concentrated on attacking, set-piece moves to rectify the poor start to the season that has seen Wanderers score two goals and concede eight in three competitive matches.

"We are not creating enough chances, not scoring enough and not defending well. The management committee will meet the technical staff to find out if they have any urgent needs. If we need to buy a whole new team we will do that. But some individuals have shown great improvement. We can't afford to lose against Rangers. We can't say we are playing a closed book. We watched them play against Hellenic, and the coach has seen some weaknesses," said Njiyela.

And the main weapon to exploit one area of weakness will be former Manning Rangers defender Abram Lethebe.

"We have the advantage when it comes to height. There's not much at Rangers except Robbie Milne. We will put pressure on Rangers to concede free-kicks and corners."

Njiyela concedes that the obvious threats in the Rangers arsenal are left wing Japhet Zwane, right wing Fees Moloi and Isaac "Shakes" Kungoane: "We have to close down their flanks and stop Shakes. And we also have to put a man to pick up Solomuzi Ndimande."

Only Friday night will tell if Wanderers' newcomer from AmaZulu, Ronald Mkhondwane, will be able to disrupt Kungoane's distribution prowess, and whether former amateur, right-sided midfielder Welcome Mazibuko, can handle the pace and skill of Rangers' left wing Zwane. Kick-off is at 8pm.