JOHANNESBURG – Roger De Sa does not look back with regret when he relives the day he accepted the Platinum Stars coaching job.
With the club now up for sale and deep in the relegation zone as they lie bottom of the table from the 18 games played so far this season, the former Orlando Pirates mentor has to pull a rabbit out of the hat to help Dikwena keep their topflight status.
“I never regret anything I do,” he said with a wry smile. “I regret what I don’t do. Nah. There’s been no secret from day one. I knew it was going to be like that. They told me the club was going to get sold and they were bottom of the log when I got here.
“We were already four points behind. The way you have got to look at it is that we have climbed up a little bit.”
Stars now have to recover from the 3-0 hiding they got from log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night, De Sa admitting after the game that his men were convincingly beaten.
“We must somehow give ourselves a chance to get out of this situation,” the coach said. “Honestly speaking, I thought we were second-best all round against Sundowns. We were hoping we could hold out and prolong the game a bit more, catch them on the counter and things like that. But Sundowns are in a league of their own.
“The gap between them and the rest is just too wide. The title is theirs to lose.”
Dikwena host title-chasers and De Sa’s former side Pirates on Saturday in Phokeng, and if his remarks are anything to go by, a win against the Buccaneers would be a bonus. Stars are looking for maximum points to get ahead of their direct relegation rivals.
“For me the loss to Ajax away from home is worse than losing to Sundowns,” the coach explained. “That is a team we could have battled with because we were 1-0 with 20 minutes to go. That was hard to swallow, and with other games (opposition higher up the table) you have to be a realist. I think it has been a relegation scrap since I arrived here - three games with no points and bottom of the log.
“We knew and targeted 15 points at the halfway mark, which we managed to achieve. And now we are targeting another 15 in the second round. That’s what it is and you’ve got to be honest about it. We don’t have a budget to go buy a Jeremy Brockie for a couple of million. We have to work with what we’ve got and pick up players that are looking for a job.”
De Sa managed to convince Manti Mekoa and Letsie Koapeng to join Stars in the current transfer window just to strengthen the attack. Gerald Phiri will return to the club on loan from Bidvest Wits as well, and the coach is targeting two more additions before the end of the month after losing leftback Siyabonga Zulu to Sundowns.
The club had caught a big fish in Zambian striker Brian Mwila, but the player took off before Christmas and is yet to return.
“Obviously Zulu was one of the better players we had, but with him gone now we have to move on. He saw a great opportunity to play for a bigger club and also earn a better salary, and you can’t hold him back. He also had five months left on his contract and in a situation like that, the club had a chance to make a pretty good sum of money,” said De Sa.
“I wish I knew where Brian is. He just disappeared and I haven’t seen him again. He went home for Christmas and it’s a long Christmas in Zambia. As far as we have heard he is looking for a club in Europe. We hope it’s Manchester City or Chelsea because they will have to buy him from us.”