National First Division newcomers Uthongathi FC preparing well for debut season

Newly promoted National First Division side Uthongathi FC are hard at work as the club is beefing up the squad ahead of their debut season in the NFD.

Uthongathi, whose chairman is Nicholas Mkhize- the mayor of Indwedwe, won promotion via the ABC Motsepe League play-offs last month by defeating Super Eagles in the final at Sisa Dukashe Stadium.

Today, the club is having the last day of trials after two weeks of player assessments and on Monday will reveal players that were signed and those who will not be retained for this coming season.

The club has confirmed that Ronnie Gabriel will continue as the club’s head coach and will be assisted by Pitso Dladla.

“Today we are concluding trials that we started and then will have a final list of all the players that have been signed and those who will be retained, and we’ll have all of that by Monday,” the club’s media officer Ndumiso Maphumulo tells KickOff.com.

“Regarding the coaches, the technical team will continue as it is.”

Meanwhile, Gabriel admitted that playing in the ABC Motsepe League and NFD are two different animals altogether in terms of administration, and the club’s main priority is to retain their status at the end of next season.

“As the club, we are working tirelessly to be ready to compete in the NFD,” he stated.

“[We have] lots of hard work to put in. It’s a huge jump from ABC Motsepe League to the NFD in terms of administration and level of competition on the field of play.

“However, we are confident of at least maintaining our league status in the upcoming season. Currently we are on our pre-season training program having a look at many trialists as well.

“By this upcoming week we will know who we are our signing and releasing in terms of players.

“Yesterday, we had a FIFA TMS [transfer matching system] training course at the PSL offices – the system used in signing of international players.”

Uthongathi, although keen to upgrade Tongaat Stadium to meet PSL requirements in the NFD, will use the Princess Magogo Stadium along with PSL side Golden Arrows.

With the addition of Uthongathi, KwaZulu-Natal’s representation in the NFD swells as Real Kings, Royal Eagles and newly formed Richards Bay FC all campaign in the second tier.

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala

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