Highlands will be better prepared

The Lions of the North were relegated from the PSL last term after just one season in the top flight, but they have bounced back after wrapping up the National First Division title at the weekend.

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They secured automatic promotion with four games to spare following their emphatic 5-1 victory over University of Pretoria at Makhulong on Saturday.

“I’m very excited, finally! I think we deserved it,” Kaftel tells KickOff.com.

“There’re four games to go and we are delighted to bounce back. I think the secret is if you get relegated from the PSL you have to try comeback in your first season.

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“If you look at the teams that don’t comeback within a season... I mean Tuks have gone down and now they are in the middle of the table, Jomo [Sono] has gone down and he is fighting hard, Black Leopards are fighting hard. It’s tough.”

Kaftel reserved special praise for the technical team led by former Bafana Bafana assistant coach Owen da Gama.

“Our coaching staff has done a fantastic job. Owen Da Gama is our head coach with [his assistant] Allan Freese. It’s our whole team. Credit must go to them and the players," he said.

“I think you’ve gotta give credit to the supporters. They’ve been unbelievable for us, they never stopped supporting us when we went down [to the First Division]. They traveled to Durban, arriving in buses. We went to play in Katlehong and we had more support than Jomo [Cosmos]. My co-directors Larry Brookstone and Sinky Mnisi have also worked very hard. 

The challenge is to make sure the team stays in the PSL.

“Our primary objective is to stay in the PSL. We really want to stay in the PSL and after that we’ll look if we can move up the table and see if we can make the top eight. We’ll [also] try to do well in a cup competition.

“The PSL is a fabulous league, it’s a big jump from the NFD and the quality is very good there. There is a big gap between the two leagues.”