3/25/2024 12:00:00 AM

Ramovic wants to take next step with Nedbank Cup win

PIC: Sead Ramovic with the Nedbank Cup trophy

Sead Ramovic has been credited with changing the fortunes of TS Galaxy, turning the Mpumalanga club from relegation candidates into trophy contenders in just a few seasons.
Galaxy burst into the national consciousness when they beat the odds – and Kaizer Chiefs in the final – to lift the Nedbank Cup in 2019 while still campaigning as a second-tier side.
It was one of the greatest moments in South African football history and they remain the only team from outside the top-tier to lift the prestigious knockout trophy.
That led to an appearance in the CAF Confederation Cup the following season where, still a second-tier team, they were only eliminated by top Nigerian side Enyimba in the play-off round after a campaign that defied expectation.

Owner Tim Sukazi purchased the DStv Premiership status of Highlands Park ahead of the 2020/21 season, elevating The Rockets into the top tier, a whole new ballgame for a club who had only been formed in 2015.

It was initially a struggle. They finished ninth and then 13th in the league, in October 2-21 set about a change in fortunes.
It did not bring overnight success, but two-and-a-half years on there are signs the Serbian is beginning to work his magic. 

They reached the final of the Carling Knockout this season and were unlucky losers on penalties against Stellenbosch FC, and are also in the top eight in the table, playing some of the most attractive football in the elite league and all on a modest budget compared to other teams.
What Ramovic needs now to show for his excellent work is a trophy and with a home draw against Chippa United, he will have an eye on the semifinals. Not many teams go to Mpumalanga and come away with victory. 
"We reached the Carling Knockout final and for us, it is just a beautiful thing and if we can now get into the semifinal (of the Nedbank Cup), we know that anything can happen,” he said.

"So, to reach the semifinal and to be in the top eight would be amazing, because the next step is to improve every season and after that, we will set new goals. But for now, we have to be focused and stay humble to reach our dreams and goals."
Ramovic will not be taking Chippa lightly, but having reached the final of a knockout trophy already this campaign, they are building experience and know-how on the pitch to go with their obvious talent.

"That (Carling Knockout) experience will help us because when you reach a final, it means the players can see that everything in their lives is possible if you put the hard work, the right attitude and the right lifestyle in front of yourself," he said.

"And if you want to improve, everything is possible and this is how it is. I've always said it, while I was a player, that hard work beats talent and it speaks about how we are driven."

Ramovic is known to be a strict disciplinarian with his players off the pitch and does not tolerate alcohol use or a party lifestyle. That would not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it has created a squad of committed players willing to sacrifice for the badge.

Since Galaxy won the Nedbank Cup in 2019, they have struggled in the competition. They lost 3-0 to Chippa United in the 2020 Last 32, before a shock loss on penalties to second-tier TS Sporting at the same stage the following year.
They beat Kaizer Chiefs in the first round in 2021 but then went out on penalties to Baroka FC, before losing an epic 6-3 encounter to Stellenbosch in the Last 16 in 2023. 
They have reached the quarterfinals for the second time this year after a 2-1 away win over Lamontville Golden Arrows, and a 3-0 away success at third-tier D’General in the Last 16.
They have, therefore, only lost two of their 12 Nedbank Cup ties outright to go with nine wins and two draws. They are yet to win a penalty shoot-out though.

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