JOHANNESBURG - That you can’t win the championship by simply bringing down your title rivals has become an overused statement from football coaches, but it’s still very much a fact.
It’s no surprise then that following their narrow defeat to Ajax Cape Town at the weekend, Chippa United interim coach Teboho Moloi was fuming.
“I did not see the passion or hunger to win the game, which is disappointing because it means we let the win against Kaizer Chiefs get to our heads,” Moloi said in his reaction to the 1-0 loss away to the Urban Warriors on Saturday night.
His men had played out of their skin last Wednesday to walk away with all three points when they hosted Amakhosi in Port Elizabeth, but their trip to Ajax was one Moloi reflected on with extreme displeasure.
“We were never at the races from the first whistle,” the coach, whose side would have gone top of the Absa Premiership table on the night, explained.
“And I warned them about us possibly getting a rude awakening. We came here and strolled in the park while expecting things to just happen. This is what happens if you take things lightly.
"There were more negatives than positives for us in this game. But I have also said to the players that it’s not over.”
What does he mean that it’s not “over”?
Is he referring to the title, especially considering Chippa, along with the new log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, have been perhaps the more consistent team during a season that has been characterised by a lack thereof?
“It’s way too early,” said Moloi, who surrendered his 10-game unbeaten run in the league since being appointed caretaker coach in September.
“To be honest I don’t care about these records and unbeaten runs. If you told me that I was winning the league because of it then I would be happy. For me records don’t mean anything. All I am concerned with is to get as many points as we can and see where we end up at the end of the season.”
By Sunday evening, following a full round of Premier League fixtures, Chippa, who began the weekend in second place, had dropped to fifth and trail Sundowns by three points. The Brazilians, however, have three games in hand.
“I don’t really want to talk of any title ambitions because of the gap between all the teams in the top half as well as those in the bottom half,” said Moloi. “You win a game today and you jump everybody else. That is why I have said before we are going through the heats, and our game against Ajax was one of them so we can be prepared for the final sprint. But fortunately we are still in it, but we need to go back and look at how to improve and try to remain there wit the other teams.”