2016/17 – Thanda Royal Zulu Season 3

Good evening all and welcome to the latest update in the Pentagon Challenge.

A quick re-cap for you all, I am currently with Thanda Royal Zulu in the South African Premiership. Last season we managed to come 7th in our first Premiership season which was an amazing achievement seeing as we were predicted to come bottom. We also managed to win the South African FA Cup, the league finish and the cup win qualified us for the South African Super 8 and African Confederations Cup respectively.

For me to continue this challenge and progress I have to start qualifying for Champions League, unfortunately for me the only way to do this in Africa is to win the South African Premiership. The league is dominated by 2 teams Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs and to be honest it will be a miracle if I over-throw them. If you had read my previous article you will know Orlando got rid of their manager but my application for the job was unsuccessful.

With the right signings I do feel we can challenge these 2 if the luck is on our side but it is going to take a lot of hard work!

I went into the new season determined to improve my squad, the board had given me a pretty decent budget to work with, around £1m and £10k in spare wages. The first thing I did was re-sign Striker Lucky Nguzana on another season long loan. The positions I wanted to improve were: A new back-up Striker to replace the retiring Ndlovu. A new CM, a new RB and a new CB, also as both my LWs left as they were out of contract I required a new one

I managed to make 5 signings, here they are:

Signing 1 – Ryan De Jongh, signed from Kaizer Chiefs for £21.5k Ryan will be my 1st choice RB replacing the disappointing Volschenk

transfer1

Signing 2 – Pere Arlwerlyai, although I have some decent CBs, I felt I needed someone with a bit more experience. Arlwerlyal was signed from FS Stars for £40k

transfer 2

Signing 3 – Mohau Mokate, signed on a pre-contract deal from Maritzburg, he will be my back-up Striker

t5

Signing 4 – Olwethu Nguye, signed from Ajax CT for £145k, he will be my 1st choice LW for the season

t4

And finally, Signing 5 – Mekuela Masuko, my most expensive signing at £175k from Wits, Central Midfielder Masuko will add some physicality to the midfield

t3

So signings complete prior to pre-season starting, I always prefer to get my transfers done early to give players as much time to blend as possible. My squad looks like this:

squad

Again we have pretty good strength in depth, we do have a few poorly rated players who I will try and offload at some point, maybe at the end of the season. I’m liking the fact I have 1 or 2 youngsters who have come up from the reserves.

Pre-Season

We struggled this time to get any glamour ties so instead I decided to play weaker teams to gain morale, all results were good but expected as well. last 2 games were against Premier League teams and I was pleased with the 1 win and 1 draw from these

preseason

So season is ready to start, I’m feeling confident, the board expect us to come mid-table but I fully expect us, with the right results and some luck to be pushing at the top. Orlando and Kaizers will be hard to topple but I’ll give it my best shot

August

aug

What a start to the season. 1st league game is a 3-0 win against Orlando Pirates, we also managed to somehow beat Kaizer Chiefs over 2 legs, beating them 3-0 in the away leg! Confidence is very high and after 2 games we are top!

September

sept

We eventually lost our first game but 4 wins from 5 games is a great start.

October

oct

A busy month but a great month. We thrashed Orlando Pirates in the Super 8 final, although they did pick a virtual reserve team, but a trophy is a trophy in my eyes! We scraped through the 1st Round of the KO cup, but the most pleasing thing is the league form, another 10 points from 4 games keeps us top of the league (but only just!)

November

nov

A slight dip in form at the start of the month. Defence seemed to give up for 2 games where we conceded 9 goals! Getting knocked out of the KO was disappointing but it seemed to kick the players into gear and we ended the month with another 7 points.

December

dec

A very quiet month, good win at home to Polkowane but a very disappointing loss to Maritzburg. After this we dropped down to 2nd

January

jan

Orlando Pirates exacted their revenge on us, beating us 3-0 but apart from that it was a good month. 9 points from 4 games kept us just behind Kaizer Chiefs at the top of the table

February

feb

A fantastic start in the African Confed Cup with a 10-1 aggregate win over Rwandan side Reyon Sports. And overall a brilliant month winning all 5 games, 2 of them in the league. Kaizers still sat top and Orlando Pirates were breathing down out neck in 3rd

March

march

An incredibly poor defeat to start the month, this saw Orlando overtake us into 2nd place in the league. We had a good win in the Confed cup again and we also scraped though the 2nd round of the KO cup. Form started to dip at the end of the month where we drew our final 3 games, 2 of those were late late equalisers for the opposition. By now Kaizers were well clear at the top, the title challenge was slipping away

April

april

A very very poor month. Injuries were taking their toll and fitness was waning due to more games than usual. To add insult to injury we were knocked out of both the Confed Cup and the KO Cup on penalties! We also only managed 1 point from 3 games in the league. With 3 games left Kaizers has won the title and Orlando were well in 2nd place. We had a 3 point gap on 4th so a few decent results would give us our best ever league finish.

May

may

A really good end to the season, 3 wins out of 3 and a fantastic 3rd place finish in the league. But in the end it wasn’t good enough for a Champions League spot!

table

What a season! Our best ever finish but after topping the table I ended disappointed that we couldn’t keep the form up. I have to be proud of my team though. Can we push Kaizers and Orlando Pirates even harder next season? I really hope so!

A couple of end of season awards. This shows how well we did really, I won Manager of the Season

22a912a9af0b67fbbce0db5562af34b4

And more pleasingly one of my new signings Left Winger Olwethu Nguye won the South African Player of the Season

ppoty

Some good news also came to us at the end of the season. Our 3rd place finish has qualified us for the African Confederations Cup. The top 2 teams in the league now qualify for the African Champions League whereas it was only 1st place last season. Hopefully its the same next season which gives us more chance to qualify.

So there you have it, another season down and what a great season it was. I really hope next season we can push the top 2 in the league, or if not Kaizers/Orlando get rid of their manager and take me on!

Thanks for reading x

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