Tapelo Xoki. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/DARREN STEWART
Tapelo Xoki. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/DARREN STEWART

A revamped AmaZulu face a serious examination of their ambitions this season when they travel to Pretoria to tackle champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus on Sunday.    

Boasting a squad with several new acquisitions‚ who better to test yourselves against than the Premier Soccer League (PSL) leaders in their own backyard?

AmaZulu were full value for the points they earned in the 2-0 win against Black Leopards in their last league match at home in October and defender Tapelo Xoki (previously Nyongo) is keen to see his team build on this.

The trouble is the Durban side have struggled to beat the 10-times PSL champions in recent times‚ highlighted by their three straight defeats in all competitions against the Brazilians last season.

Xoki said there is renewed confidence in the camp under a fresh management structure led by the club’s new owner, Sandile Zungu.

“In every match you’ve got to have confidence, and confidence comes as a result of good [performances]‚” said the defender who has featured in every minute of Usuthu’s previous three league games against Orlando Pirates,  TS Galaxy  and Leopards this season.

“So we have to keep that positive mentality in the team. It’s a big game and it’s three points up for grabs‚” said the 25-year-old centre-back.

“I know Sundowns will want to get the three points but we also want three points. So we’ve got ambitions for the season and we know what we need to do.

“It’s a game of small margins like we’ve known in the previous games. One moment can change the game; we have to make sure we apply ourselves correctly and play the game to the best of our abilities.”

Xoki said their win against Leopards showed the refurbished team boasting Luvuyo Memela‚ Siphiwe Tshabalala and Augustine Mulenga among the new recruits is starting to gel under Ayanda Dlamini.

“It’s very important that we pick up from where we left off [against Sundowns]‚” said Xoki.

“We must make sure that we get the momentum going because we must try and build on the result we got in our last game.”

Sundowns are currently top of the log after winning two and drawing one of their first three games.

AmaZulu last beat Sundowns in the 2018-2019 season when they stole four points — a 2-0 win and 3-3 draw — against their more illustrious opponents.

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