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Thu Apr 17 02:53:50 SAST 2014

Leopards hope for a final Nkhatha feature

Sapa | 19 June, 2012 13:370 Comments
Kingston Nkhatha tackles Siyabonga Sangweni during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Black Leopards from Orlando Stadium on February 15, 2012 in Soweto
Image by: Lee Warren / Gallo Images

Black Leopards said they hoped to have Kingston Nkhatha available for one more Caf Confederation Cup commitment before he embarks on his new Kaizer Chiefs career.

The burly Zimbabwean forward has starred for the outfit in their continental sojourn, and is tied fifth top scorer in the competition with three goals.

Nkhatha will leave for Chiefs while the Limpopo-based side prepared to get permission from the Glamour Side for the player’s final match with the team, in their third round first leg play-off match away to Al-Merraikh in Omdurman, Sudan next Saturday.

“There is still some paperwork to be done on his deal (to Chiefs),” said Leopards spokesman Tendani Thidiela on Tuesday.

“But we want to send a request to Chiefs to have him going with us to Sudan for the game on June 30.

“Also, remember Premier Soccer League (PSL) contracts generally end in June and his new Chiefs deal will, maybe, start from July 1.”  Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung said Lidoda Duvha would need to send a proposal first.   “We have hardly finalised our own paperwork on him, and we’ve not heard anything from them (Leopards) about it,” said Motaung.

“It would be hard for me to comment until they communicate with us (on the matter).”  The return leg is in Polokwane a fortnight later, where Leopards have a chance of earning a credible spot in the eighth-team group stages of the tournament.

However, having started off their pre-season on Monday, Leopards said they would not sacrifice much of their PSL ambitions over the Al-Merraikh encounter.

Lack of proper rest in preparation for their Premiership campaign because of the league’s play-offs last year was identified as one of the reasons why they struggled last season.   “We won’t be at our physical best so we won’t put too much effort in Africa, particularly, this first match,” Thidiela said.

“We want to have proper pre-season for the Premiership this time.

“We struggled in the league last season because we didn’t do it properly.

While they survived returning back to the First Division, Thidiela went on to warn the three play-offs hopefuls — Santos, Thanda Royal Zulu and Chippa United.

“We struggled because we didn’t do proper pre-season, by the time the winner of the play-off is confirmed, when are they going to rest?” he asked.

“Look at what happened to us? 

“The players won’t have time to rest, some of the players in the market won’t be available.

“That is why for us, it’s either we do things short term, or we go for the long haul of preparing properly for the league.”  With strong interest on some of the players in the team, Leopards said they would not release any ahead of the new season.

They will bolster the squad next month, though, since they will also be permitted to register new players for the Caf competition.

Among those on trial at the club is the Mozambique-based Brazilian goalkeeper Caio Venanciao, and a player from DR Congo’s F.C Saint Eloi Lupopo.

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