2 February 2018
Tembisa, South Africa
We have had a mixed bag this January. Made some reasonable signings, however teh results on the pitch have left something to be desired.
Blow by Blow
We offered contracts to two players however work permits for one means he may not get to join us.
Eduards Grigorjevs is a current Latvian international. He can play anywhere through the wide and attacking midfield slots. He will be featuring on the left for us.
Christian Zech is an experienced Lichtenstein international, having played for his country 32 times. He will be featuring a s a ball playing midfielder.
Match 15/30 – ABSA Premiership
They play a 4-4-2 with attacking wingers. Goals have been at a premium in their matches.
I decide to come out in my modified 4-2-3-1 formation. Both new signings are in the 18 and I am expecting big things from them both.
New boy Grigorjevs makes a great pass but Lavets shot is well saved. First quarter has seen us hold ball well. A fine team move sees Radzi break deadlock. Platinum Stars then had a couple of openings but our defence has been solid. An educated chip from Duarte saw us 2-0 up on the half hour mark. Unfortunately Platinum Stars pull a goal back with a fantastic strike from range.
Poor defending sees us conceed the equalizer just after the half. We haven’t looked good enough in the second spell. In the end we were not clinical enough and spurned too many good chances. We went to sleep after the first hour.
Duarte gets player of the match. I am not sure how we didn’t win this game. Lubasa was the only one of our players to have a poor game.
Match 16/30 – ABSA Premiership
This is a must win game for us, after our poor showing last time out. They are weak down the left so I will be looking to exploit that.
Sesinyi comes in to make his first start of the season since coming back from loan. Ralebakeng gets another chance up top, it may be his last if he doesn’t produce. Lubasa gets a chance to atone for his poor game last time out.
We have started strongly but need to get shots on target. It was a poor showing, and many a bad word was said from the sidelines.
Our first shot on target goes in as Majola slams home a desive effort. Majola made it two with a nice finish.
Majola off the bench gets POM. A good effort all around aside from the finishing.
Match 17/30 – ABSA Premiership
Ajax have not had the best of seasons although they have been on a good run of late.
Am not sure that the 4-3-1-2 is the best formation against a 5-5-2 but I feel we need two up top.
We had a great chance and hit the post on the counter attack. We have settled well, but so have Ajax. Luthuli pulls off two great saves to keep us in it. A disappointing own goal sees us go behind.
We continued to fight hard but never really looked likely. Once again we were flaccid in front of goal. A second goal to Ajax in 69th minute followed almost immediately by a second own goal put the match to bed.
Not much to say about this performance. However, I need to keep perspective. We are probably only a top four side despite the win last season. We a currently safe in third place, so that is my goal for the season.
I attended the interview but am not sure I want the job just yet. They wanted a set piece focus which I wasn’t prepared to do. I didn’t get the job!
Match 18/30 – ABSA Premiership
We have Golden Arrows next. They are currently bottom and I fancy our chances.
Radzi and Tseka come back in. Playing the narrow formation in a quest to have two up top.
Started really well and had the best of the opening stages. Radzi scored the opener following up a thunder strike from Makaringe. We have made a better fist of the opening half. A penalty following a blatant foul saw us double our lead.
Second period saw more of the same. Ngobeni comes in up front in an attempt to get his first goal to the club. Radzi bags his third goal for the game and gets replaced by Grigorjevs who has struggled to play well. Duarte is forced of with an injury which is worrying. The last 20 sees us holding on with Ngobeni blasts a shot on target which draws a great save.
Radzi has been a beast this season and his hat-trick was amazing today!
Duarte Injury Report
Duarte is out for 2 weeks, which isn’t too bad. We have cover in the squad.
Notts County come asking – they want young first team player. I am down with that! 20th in League 1 so need to turn things around. They approached me, however I turned down the offer. My reasons were that I have Champions League games to play and I only want to manage in the Premier League in England!
Hilali Muhimpundu has been on trial with us and due to the slow grinding cogs of the Government has been waiting 4 weeks for a work permit. Hard working and possessing good dribbling and passing abilities he will be a good addition to the midfield.
Match 19/30 – ABSA Premiership
Wits are tough opposition. We come into this game with only 7 points from last four matches. I was hoping for more.
Zech comes in for the injured Duarte. New signing Muhimpundu is on the bench, as is Ralebakeng who replaces Ngobeni who has gone out on loan.
We are short odds favourites for this match. There is a tense start to the match with few chances for either side. We have the only chance but nothing comes of it. Majola has the best chances of the half but is unable to beat the keeper on either occasion. We go into the break all square.
They start strongly in the second period but we hold them out. We miss another chance to take the lead and it looks like we are not going to get anything out of the game. In the end it finishes 0-0 which is a disappointment.
We were poor up front and need to do better.
Match 20/30 – ABSA Premiership
Sundowns have always been tough. We will have to work hard to beat them. We certainly have to improve up front.
Switching to a wider formation for this match up.
Behind in the first minute following a mix-up in midfield. Not a good start. We had a chance to hit back but couldn’t beat the keeper. We are exposed with a back to front long ball and go 2-0 down on the half hour mark. It should have been three 5 mins later but the shot was blasted wide. I pull back into a 4-3-3 and try to stabalise the game.
The second half begins and we hang in there. Ridzi has a great chance but the shot is well saved. Majola has the next chance but once again we can’t beat the keeper. Radzi pulls a goal back with a header from a cross! 20 to go – can we do it? We pile on the pressue but cant find a way through. We go down 2-1.
In the end we didn’t perform too poorly. Our chance conversion rate is just not good enough.
CAF Champions League Draw
We get to play Maritian side Pamplemousses in the final Qualification round for the CAF Champions League.
Two wins, two draws and two defeats. 8 points out of 18 is not good enough and we are in danger of slipping out of the top four.
Still in the top three although not as comfortably as I would have hoped.
I will be back with you guys mid march following the Maritzburg game. Hopefully we will have a positive result to report in the Champions League.