DYLAN JACK
UP have had a poor 2015/2016 season in the Absa Premiership. The team currently sits 15th on the log in one of the two relegation spots – only a point above last-placed Maritzburg United and with four victories to their name out of the 23 games they have currently played.

A promising start to the season, which included a 3-0 win over Polokwane City and a 1-1 draw with Kaizer Chiefs, has slowly petered out with the team losing 14 games in the season. What has been highlighted as a major issue for the team is the lack of goal-scoring abilities, accompanied by the inability to keep clean sheets.

UP have scored 15 goals this season – the lowest on the table – and have conceded twice that, leaving the side with a goal difference of -15. The lack of goals is illustrated through the performances of star striker Thabo Mynamane, who has only scored five goals this season, and the recent addition of experienced former Orlando Pirates forward Lennox Bacela, who has only scored once this season.

Many have also blamed the poor performance of the team on the lack of solidarity within the club, which traces back to 2014 when Steve Barker left the club for Amazulu, and is displayed in the recent sacking of his replacement, Sammy Troughton. Troughton was replaced by former South African international Shaun Bartlett in January.

The danger of UP’s potential relegation is that the Absa Premiership will lose a club that is regarded as one of the strongest youth academies in the country.

There is, however, still a chance for UP to save the season. Bartlett is hopeful to get the team scoring goals again and said, “The confidence [in the team] is growing, and their performances are getting better. We just need to be more clinical in the final third.” Jomo Cosmos are also only three points above UP with a greater goal difference. If UP are able to put together an unbeaten run, they will be certain to stay in the Absa Premiership

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