Khabo Zondo, one of the two coaches of the Ke Yona Team, said the amateur side drawn mainly from players in rural areas was ready to give Nedbank Cup champions Free State Stars ‘a good run for their money’.
The clash, often referred to as Goliath versus David, will be played on 9 September at the Makhulong Stadium in Thembisa, a day after Bafana Bafana’s encounter with Libya in the Afcon qualifiers.
“They may be rural boys and amateurs at the same time but we have done our best with them in the little time we have had with them to prepare them for the big stage and a game of this magnitude,” said Zondo.
“Come Sunday, I am confident they will account for themselves well and we will be able to give Free State Stars a good run for their money. Rookies or no rookies, I am sure we will be able to match them pound for pound in the field.
“We have also changed the selection strategy to focus mainly on young boys in their early 20s so they can still have a long life of soccer if by any chance they get absorbed by premiership sides in the draft that will be conducted.”
The former Golden Arrows coach said his utterances were not meant to undermine Free State Stars but were based on their preparation of the boys and ‘what we have seen in training with them, the display and the hunger to score goals’.
“I am certain we will see not one but more goals on Sunday from the Ke Yona side,” he said, brushing aside what many have termed a mediocre display from the team over the years.
The team, which is assembled annually, has only managed to score one goal in five years and that was last year. “This may be a mediocre achievement but when we look at the bigger picture of what some of the boys who come through the team have gone on to do in the premiership and outside, we have every reason to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, not just by us but by Nedbank as the initiator of the programme.”
Football fanatics have been urged to come to Makhulong in their numbers and can get up to four free tickets from Computicket and Shoprite stores if they produce their SA IDs.