Orlando Pirates defender Brian Hlongwa learning NFD lessons with Real Kings FC
Posted: 8 November 2017 Time: 08:39
Orlando Pirates defender Brian Hlongwa says the National First Division is no place for the faint-hearted.
Hlongwa, who joined Pirates in early 2016 from the KZN Football Academy, was loaned to Real Kings FC at the beginning of the season after featuring in Bucs' MultiChoice Diski Challenge side.
He has played all 10 of their games this campaign, with the club currently eighth in the second-tier standings with 14 points.
"The NFD is tough man, everyone is fighting," Hlongwa told the Buccaneers' website.
"Here [NFD], you are so close to the PSL and it’s all you ever think about. The clubs are very competitive and at the end of each game you can feel that you have been in a war. Nobody gives you an inch, you have to be on your game at all times. The next game is always your toughest because the approach here is that every game is like a final."
Hlongwa added: "When I arrived in pre-season we were doing two, three training sessions per day at times: twice on the field, once in the gym. I thought they were crazy! But now after 10 games I can see why we went that way. There is very little room for error and if you are physically fit, then you will also be mentally sharper. That is a good thing."
Hlongwa says the team is staying active during the FIFA break as they prepare for their next league tie with KwaZulu-Natal rivals Royal Eagles on November 18.
"We are still training as normal, we have friendly matches lined up so the programme is pretty busy. You can’t really afford to stop just because there are no set fixtures. It’s something that I was used to when I was playing at Pirates, because even when the MDC season was over, we still carried on just to stay sharp. It’s the same here. When you relax, then everything you have worked towards goes out the window. Coach Simo [Dladla] is not one to relax, he works so hard and expects the same from his team. He’s that guy that gets to training first and is the last to leave. We are feeding off his energy and hard work."