JOHANNESBURG – While Wedson Nyirenda was left wishing football allowed for a change of the entire team during a match, Jozef Vukusic was looking ahead to the season with glee.
As the Polokwane derby produced a winner for the first time ever, Polokwane City beat Baroka FC 2-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday, the two coaches’ contrasting reactions to the result was expected.
Having enjoyed a win over Cape Town City and a credible draw against Kaizer Chiefs prior to the weekend’s clash, Nyirenda’s Baroka were slight favourites going into the match.
And when they dominated the initial quarter-hour, hope sprang eternal that Bakgaga would reign supreme.
It was not to be though as the men in green incredibly went flat, allowing Polokwane to not only get a grip of a match they’d hitherto looked to be set to chase in vain but also gifting them a first half goal that set them up for victory.
To say Nyirenda was livid would be putting it mildly.
“I cannot pretend it was good,” he said afterwards. “I’m very disappointed because of the poor attitude from my team today. The attitude was too negative. If I was allowed to have 10 substitutions I could have substituted everyone.”
He made three changes, one of those coming very early in the first half, but it was all in vain - Baroka’s cause not being helped by some horrendous defending that saw goalkeeper Ayanda Dlamini gift Polokwane the opener.
“Nobody came to the party today. That first goal was way too casual. But that is our problem. In all our matches, we’ve never really been beaten. We’ve given the opponents all the goals we’ve conceded. Backpasses should come to an end. We give away goals and we missed too many chances. We need to change all that.”
With two weeks before their next matches, the Zambian legend has time to work not only on his team’s attitude but on their finishing and defending as well. It is going to be a long fortnight.
Not so for his Polokwane counterpart Vukusic for whom the next two weeks should be bliss after the club registered their first win of the season thanks to goals from Walter Musona and captain Jabu Maluleke.
“It was a very important win for us because we have to start somewhere, we needed to get a good result in the derby. I am happy that the defence kept a clean sheet.
"Now we have the first three points we can move from here. This will build confidence for our next games.”
Vukusic praised his team’s overall attitude.
“We played very well, we showed a fighting mentality. Every player gave a maximum performance. We got it right in defence and the keeper did very well. The whole team was good defensively. We knew they’d play long balls; we knew they would try to play on the wings and we closed them.
Offensively we did well. We scored two and we could have scored even more but it was important we kept a clean sheet.”