Bizana Pondo Chiefs chairman Nkosinathi Mqokiyana has refused to be despondent after his team got relegated to the ABC Motsepe League, after just one season in the professional ranks.
The businessman told FARPost that there are a lot of positives from the season in the GladAfrica Championship and he is proud of the team and their strides through the season.
From giving young players a good platform to taste professional football, to making Bizana recognized in the whole country, the chairman seemingly has a lot to celebrate.
“It is incorrect to say our season was holistically unsuccessful because I can tell you now, the players that were registered under me are seriously in demand,” he said.
“If this club had not achieved promotion to the playoffs, how many young, black, rural boys that were never gonna have an opportunity to showcase their talent to everyone in South Africa to trust them?”
“In my context, I don’t believe it was a failure, maybe it’s a hiccup that says to us let’s go back to our drawing board, but the word failure, didn’t go well, I don’t think it applies to us.
“We are one of the few clubs, if any, to go to Cape Town and get four points. Including the guys that are fighting for promotion, they failed to get more than four points there.”
“We are the only club that is coming from the district that does not have facilities, imagine getting Ajax coming to play in Matatiela, Tabankulu or in Mtata.
“But I don’t mind who says what because football is a game of opinions and people have got their own opinions and they are entitled to them, but I think we gave it our shot and I think we’ve lived our moment,” said Mqokiyana.
But he reckons their situation was caused by lack of proper planning for the professional stage.
But he couldn’t agree with sentiments of not having experienced campaigners to keep the status.
“We never had time to properly plan and outline our strengths and weaknesses in this level, that is the biggest downfall.
“When you say experienced players, who are you referring to? (Mbongeni) Mzimela is very experienced, we signed the likes of (Mxolisi) Mayongo – very experienced, we singed (Musa) Bilankulu. So in terms of experience, no,” he continued.
He also commented on the issue of the coach Clinton Larsen, who was brought in to save the team from relegation.
“I’m not sure about the case, but even if there was a case unfortunately we have not been winning games, so it won’t apply to us.
“It won’t be easy to talk we gonna have to negotiate the logistics because the team was based in Durban and he is from Durban now the team is going back to the Eastetn Cape to play in the ABC Motsepe League so it’s a different ball game,” he added.
With a lot of players in demand according to the chairman, it is expected that they will be busy in the market exchanging players with teams in the professional leagues, though he does not want to enrich himself.
“This project was not about me, it was me giving back to my community, so I think I’ve done that successfully.
“The players that will go and remain in GladAfrica Championship, I’ll release them unless some feel fit to compensate us, I’ll gladly accept that, but I’m not about making any profit out of these boys,” concluded Mqokiyana.
By Wonga Sirayi
FARPost’s KZN Reporter