Franco Martin urges Usuthu players to show resilience

Pablo Franco Martín, coach of AmaZulu during the 2023 KZN Premiers Cup match between AmaZulu and Royal AM at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban on 22 July 2023 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

AmaZulu FC head coach Pablo Franco Martin urged his players to be resilient after the Prince Mangosuthu Legacy Cup final over the weekend.

Usuthu were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Royal AM in the final of the pre-season tournament which took place at the Prince Mangosuthu Regional Stadium in Ulundi.

It was a match that saw AmaZulu play the majority of the game with 10 players after Sphesihle Maduna was sent off in the 32nd minute and Martin reacted to the encounter.

“Today in the semi-final and final, playing football was difficult, first of all, because of the ground, because of the wind,” Franco Martin said.

“We tried in the semifinal and controlled the game. In the final, we were only able to compete for 25 minutes.

“After that, with one less player it was impossible and I think there are things in football that coaches and players cannot control,” the Spanish tactician continued.

“Sometimes those things harm you. But you need to be resilient, you need to keep trying and keep playing.”

The former Simba SC head coach also pointed out that Usuthu should be able to play under such unfavourable conditions and win matches.

“What is not acceptable is that one player gets a red card and it harms the whole team. From there the game was going from one side to another – too many counter-attacks,” he added.

“They were trying to catch us on the counter, we took some risks… But this is something we must value with our team that they are always trying, always fighting.”

AmaZulu will now start their 2023/24 DStv Premiership campaign with a match against Royal AM at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday. Kick-off is at 17h30.