Light at end of tunnel could be open door for Baroka

Head coach of Baroka FC Dan Malesela. | BackpagePix

Head coach of Baroka FC Dan Malesela. | BackpagePix

Published May 15, 2024

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Obakeng Meletse

A Dan Malesela-led Baroka FC are in hot pursuit of a DStv Premiership return.

After having tasted the perks while mixing with the best South African football has to offer before their relegation in 2022, the Motsepe Foundation Championship outfit can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but they will have to put in the hard yards with AmaTuks lying in wait.

Baroka FC, in third, occupy the final spot in the PSL promotion/relegation play-off battle. And while they focus on leapfrogging AmaTuks, who have a two-point advantage over them going into the final round of fixtures on Sunday, Bakgakga also need to keep looking over their shoulders with three other contenders ready to pounce on any slip-up.

The equation seems simple enough for Bakgakga – win their match against AmaTuks and they will be one step closer to the elite division … easy, right?

Not quite. Yes, it’s an AmaTuks side without a win in five matches and perhaps a bit low on confidence, but them being second and with a superior goal difference surely counts for something.

The former TS Galaxy coach has asked his team to be clinical in front of goal and make use of their ball possession if they want to get one over their opponents.

“It’s a question of finishing our chances. We always create these chances but we don’t seem to be able to find the back of the net frequently, but it happens in football. It has happened to the best.

“It’s something that we continuously work on and something that we hope we will soon get right. With every match I hope this is the match where our fortunes change and we are clinical in front of goal but it hasn’t happened yet,” said Malesela.

The 58-year-old is well aware of their opponents’ recent struggles but be that as it may, he would rather focus on improving on their shortfalls. Bakgakga needed a Boy Madingwana tap-in in added time to steal a vital draw from the jaws of defeat against JDR Stars, a situation they hope to avoid in the next fixture.

“It’s a do-or-die game for everyone (all four teams chasing a spot in the play-offs). We need to focus on ourselves and see how we can exploit whatever that we can exploit on the day of the match.

“You cannot read too much into your opponents. We are cautious of how we approach the match.

“We try and not to look i to the weaknesses of the opponent too much. We focus on our weaknesses more and rectify them so that we don’t give them any hope or any room to punish us.

“Mentally you have to be flexible. We have already started speaking to the players about AmaTuks immediately after the game against JDR Stars. The players are off now but we wanted for them to go home thinking about the game that’s coming up.

“We just need to work on the mental aspect. At this moment to say you can change this much in terms of the playing style and the formation it would be a lie, all that’s needed is to get the mindset right,” Malesela concluded.

With the right mindset, the light at the end of the tunnel could be the door that leads Bakgakga back to the PSL.

Related Topics:

DStv PremiershipSoccer