JOHANNESBURG - Sitting on the throne of the Absa Premiership table, Baroka FC are as a medieval castle under siege, waiting to pour hot tar on top of any opposing side who might think they have the capacity to climb up and dispossess them of their number one spot.
It took a whole lot of daring and believing from Baroka when they beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in a league clash three weeks ago - a result which catapulted them top of the PSL table with 15 points. They are unbeaten in seven league games and could be accounted for as a possible dark horse for the league crown.
Captain Olaleng Shaku knows that. And that’s why the 29-year-old defender stressed the need to be ruthless in front of goal if they are to avoid their first defeat of the season against the also yet to be beaten Lamontville Golden Arrows, who are second on the table, at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
“Golden Arrows are a very strong side,” Shaku said. “They are currently No 2 on the log standings. And for us, if we are to see ourselves winning this match-up, we’ll have to make sure that we score a whole lot of goals before the end of full-time. Doing so will see us increasing our chances of winning this match."
Asked if they were under any form of pressure given the fact that Arrows are a mere two points behind them, Shaku said: “There’s no pressure being No 1 on the league standings because we are not worried about anybody else other than ourselves.
"It’s the No 2's, the No 3's and the No 4's, however, who are consistently under that kind of pressure. And that’s because they are always stressing about how are they going to overtake us or how are they going to ensure that they don’t lose their respective log positions to other teams who are also closing in as well.
“Our coach (Kgoloko Thobejane) has said it before that he wants to win the league title and maintain our position (throughout this season),” Shaku added. “He truly believes that we really can. It’s now up to us as players to make sure that we help him fulfil that objective.”
Last season, Bakgaga only had the bravado of their coach, Thobejane, and a fighting spirit which saw them avoid the automatic drop on the very last day of the season, to show for themselves.
But this season, the Baroka FC boss, Khurishi Mphahlele, roped in Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana legend Doctor Khumalo as the club’s technical director to help instil self-belief and discipline.
Shaku admits that the arrival of '16 Valve' at the club has made aworld of difference, adding that a conversation with the man always leaves them with a fresh and new perspective.
“The arrival of Doctor has been very good for us as team and the supporters are also very glad to have him at the club,” Shaku said. “He’s been playing football for a very long time and to have somebody of his experience in the team, truly means a lot to all of us as players.
“I remember one time Doctor came up to me and said: ‘Boy, you are the captain of this team. Make sure that you lead by example in everything that you do. And also make sure that you respect your fellow teammates. By doing so, you would be commanding respect from them, as well.
"We’ll continue working together in all of these things and you’ll get to see that anything is possible'. It is only now that I’ve realised that (he was right),” Shaku adds. “Anything is possible if we can continue pulling together as a team.”