Tuks coach lauds players

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AmaTuks coach Steve Barker.

Johannesburg – AmaTuks coach Steve Barker heaped praise on his side after they continued their strong away record in the Premiership with a 1-1 draw with Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.

“I think it's a fantastic result for the club, to come here and play against the log leaders filled with quality players,” Barker said.

“First and foremost, credit must go to the players for their effort and their commitment. Once again their attitude continues to amaze me.”

They held table toppers Kaizer Chiefs to a draw at FNB Stadium after Amakhosi had dominated the match and scored the opening goal through George Lebese in the 55th minute.

The visitors came back to equalise against the run of play, with Mame Niang finding the back of the net as Tuks snatched a point from the fixture and settled in sixth place on the standings.

“I thought the first half, for the first 15-20 minutes, we were on the back foot, but we knew we would be,” Barker said.

“We knew we should just try and contain Kaizer Chiefs for as long as possible, knowing that maybe a little bit of anxiety and tension might build.”

After 15 rounds of matches in the league season, Tuks had racked up 15 points in eight matches away from home.

Chiefs, who were left one point clear of Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars at the top of the table, marshalled the game in the midfield, and looked to be warming up the entire first period.

Barker's team had to rely on scraps of possession, but were more clinical than their Soweto opponents.

“There were periods at the end of the second half where we had one or two half-chances but probably not enough to penetrate and get any goals.”

Barker believed Chiefs may have been left slightly stale after the Soweto derby a week earlier, when they drew 1-1 against Pirates.

He raised concerns about the fitness of the high-flying Glamour Boys, with a month to go before the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, which was compounded when striker Bernard Parker was carried off with an ankle injury.

“We changed the way we played in the second half, after we allowed them to take the lead, and they scored a quality goal,” he said.

“The game then seemed to open up a bit. Some of the players from Kaizer Chiefs looked jaded and it doesn't bode well for the national squad.”

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter said Parker's injury was a worry, with one game left before a lengthy break in the league.

“Bernard's (injury) is quite a nasty one,” Baxter said.

“He twisted his ankle as he got kicked and he landed, and I think it may be ligament damage.” – Sapa


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