Larsen up for another challenge
Last season Chippa United sent an SOS call to the 48-year-old when they were staring down at the barrel of relegation, languishing in 15th place after changing coaches four times before Larsen’s arrival in January. Larsen worked his magic and saved the Chilli Boys. But not even he could escape the axe from the trigger happy Chippa Mpengesi.
Larsen has now resurfaced at Polokwane City for an even tougher challenge. He arrived at a club that had lost their nine previous matches in all competitions. Their 1-0 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld make it 10.
“I can’t speak about the other nine, but what I will speak about is the next 15 games in the second round,” Larsen said. “There’s a lot of issues that we started to address last week (two weeks ago) already. No 1 was the conditioning of the team. We have started to work a bit on that. You could see late on in the game, it took its toll on us and we were a man down with the team cramping. That’s an area we are working very, very hard on. But like I said, we are very thin at the moment. We won’t make excuses about it though, but everyone can see it. We will strengthen in the transfer window and come back stronger.”
The situation at City is worse than the one he inherited at Chippa. The team is low on confidence and morale after a devastating start. The club has been a consistent midtable side since their promotion. But now that they are desperate, they have called on the fixer.
“It’s not a role that I choose (being a fixer), a club has asked me to do a job so I will do it to the best of my ability,” Larsen said.
“But it’s a challenge that I really relish. I believe and I am confident in my ability to turn things around. I am looking forward to the challenge. Come end of the season, I don’t think that we will be in this position.”
The club has a central defence crisis that is heightened by the injury of S’busiso Mbonani. Kenneth Nthatheni and Ayanda Nkili also picked up injuries against Sundowns, making this a desperate situation for the club. Larsen said that they will address this in the transfer window in January. During that time he will also be instilling his philosophy as the club’s third coach of the season. Zlatko Krmpotic started the season at the helm before Bernard Molekwa held the role in the interim. This is better compared to Chippa where he was the fifth coach of the season only in January.
“I am so happy with the attitude of the players,” Larsen said. “To adapt to the third coach in a short space of time is never an easy thing for players. But they have adapted very quickly to what I am demanding from them, and I think that once we make a few additions we are going to be very competitive in the second round.”@mihlalibaleka