As Black Leopards prepare to face the Premiership’s deadliest attack – usually spearheaded by Bernard Parker – captain Mongezi Bobe has warned his teammates against being sloppy in defence.
Without a victory in 2013, 13th placed Lidoda Duvha have conceded five goals (in two matches) since the Premiership’s resumption and need to shrug off the defensive frailties or face the trauma of being sucked deeper into the relegation quagmire.
“We’ve lost two games since we got back from the break and that’s not good. We played well in our matches (against Bidvest Wits and Chippa United), especially when we were a goal or two down,” Bobe said ahead of Leopards’ crucial encounter with top-of-the-table club Kaizer Chiefs at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium tonight (7.30pm).
“What’s killing us at the moment is our defending. If we try to avoid conceding so many goals then we will fare much better in the league. We are not defending as a team at the moment. We have to believe we can turn things around. We are trying very hard to fix it. I hope it will show.”
It most certainly has to show tonight otherwise Lidoda Duvha could be in for a long night and on the receiving end of a battering.
Amakhosi’s Parker notched up his 10th league goal of the season when he scored the winner against Free State Stars to take Chiefs to 37 points at the weekend while former Leopards marksman Kingston Nkhatha is lagging behind on four, but is always a threat.
Chiefs are the league’s top scorers with 33 goals and many defenders would be terrified to come up against such an attack, but Bobe is confident Leopards can rise to the occasion and stop Amakhosi’s deadly attackers.
He’ll be happy to know that the man who scored four goals against Leopards last season in the Nedbank Cup, Lehlohonolo Majoro, is suspended.
“They have a strong attack and he (Nkhatha) has been doing well for them. But I don’t see why we should give them respect. The best way to defend is to attack. We are going to attack them from the first whistle and make sure that they don’t get time to play on the ball. We are playing at home and we need to make the most of it and start collecting points. We can’t afford to lose,” said the flying winger.
Meanwhile Leopards’ interim coach Abel Makhubela is under pressure to produce results and avoid being replaced, but Bobe has backed the former assistant to guide them to safety.
“The coach has been there with us for a while now. We understand him and how he wants us to play. He also understands us. It’s a pity he did not start well, but hopefully things will change. He is a good guy and a good motivator. You can see he is trying his best to motivate the team so that we can get out of the situation we are in. I think it’s only a matter of time before we start winning matches.”
Bobe believes victory over Chiefs will go a long way in helping the club achieve their goal of finishing in the top eight.
“We know what position we are in at the moment and it’s not a good one. We have been there before and I most certainly know that we don’t want to go through those emotions again. We need to start winning so that we can make the top eight. It’s not impossible.”
Leopards were in a similar position last season, in a relegation scramble, but managed to survive at the death.
“It’s all about self-belief. We are the ones playing on the pitch. Coaches can do their work at training, but at same time it’s all up to the players and how hungry we are.” - The Star