by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – RYAN de Jongh believes while the priority for Sekhukhune United is to retain their status in the DStv Premiership, the newcomers can go all the way and challenge for a finish in the top four.
The defensive midfielder, recently unveiled ahead of the new campaign, said finishing in the top eight will also be a huge achievement for the promoted club.
“For now, to be honest, we need to retain our status,” he said.
“We need to get away from the danger zone and for us to reach a top four or top eight. Top four would be amazing for us but for now… it’s to reach the top eight and put the team in contention for the second competition (after the league).”
Finishing in the top eight has the added incentive of qualifying for the MTN 8.
“That would be amazing for the team in the first season in the PSL,” de Jongh said.
While history suggests it is almost always an arduous task for a promoted team to survive relegation from the topflight, Swallows FC last season proved finishing in the higher position is attainable.
Swallows finished sixth and had it not been for what is now the league’s record number of draws (20) could have ended higher.
De Jongh hailed the potential of his new team, particularly Babina Noko attaining promotion to the DStv Premiership after a single season in the GladAfrica Championship.
“It’s exciting times ahead of us,” the player said.
“Lots of hard work lies ahead of us. No challenge in the top league is easier at this point in time.”
Sekhukhune will count on the experience of de Jongh to make an impression in their debut season.
The 31 year-old from Johannesburg is one of the most experienced players in coach MacDonald Makhubedu’s side after joining from Bloemfontein Celtic.
De Jongh player has accumulated 168 games across all local competitions and the CAF Confederation Cup during other stints with Maritzburg United and the now-defunct Platinum Stars.
He pledged to work hard for the reigning first division champions.
“I’m not going to give anything less than that. Anywhere I go, it’s always been for the badge,” he assured.
– CAJ News