PAPIC CON­FI­DENT FOR FIRST HOME VIC­TORY

City’s run of form could see them make his­tory but the coach says it’s not about his­tory, it’s about do­ing well long term and win­ning

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MAT­SHE­LANE MAM­ABOLO

KOSTA PAPIC has been in the game long enough to not get eas­ily car­ried away by a good run of form.

So while he is pleased with Polok­wane City’s three suc­ces­sive league wins, the well-trav­elled Ser­bian coach says the vic­to­ries mean very lit­tle in the big­ger scheme of things.

“We can­not be happy with this (cur­rent form) be­cause then we’ll start to re­lax. What we’re look­ing to do is make our­selves con­tinue play­ing well and win­ning,” he said yes­ter­day “We want this kind of form to be long term, so we must keep go­ing.”

That City have won their last three matches, all of them away, on the trot fol­low­ing a 5-1 drub­bing at Bloem­fontein Celtic early last month sug­gests the coach has weaved some spe­cial magic to turn things around.

Papic’ though, says there’s no such thing. “What turn-around? All I’ve done is con­tinue do­ing my job the way I’ve been do­ing it and mak­ing the play­ers work hard and they have put in the ef­fort – that’s all.”

Per­haps so, but that run of form which saw them end Black Aces’ six-match un­beaten run at the week­end will see them walk onto the Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium pitch here tonight con­fi­dent they can in­flict on Kaizer Chiefs their maiden league loss of the sea­son.

Such a re­sult will also mean City’s first home vic­tory, a feat that will please the man who has pre­vi­ously coached Mar­itzburg United, Black Leop­ards and Chippa United.

“It will be good to fi­nally win at home be­cause it will make us and the fans happy,” he said.

City’s four home matches have yielded a pa­thetic three de­feats and a draw.

That might change though, es- pe­cially with Amakhosi set to field a team likely to be with­out their Bafana in­ter­na­tion­als.

Coach Stu­art Baxter ex­pressed a con­cern about their fit­ness fol­low­ing Satur­day’s 1-1 draw with Mamelodi Sun­downs, so the on-form City could suc­ceed where 11 sides be­fore them have failed.

Not that Papic will use the chance to be the first to beat Amakhosi as a mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor for his team. Far from it, for the for­mer Or­lando Pi­rates coach who also oc­cu­pied the Chiefs hot seat briefly has not con­cerned him­self at all about the run­away lead­ers.

“Maybe his­tory says we could be the first to beat Chiefs. But we’re not think­ing about them. We are sim­ply pre­par­ing our­selves to win the match, that way we con­trol what hap­pens on our side. We’re not try­ing to break the record of some­one else; all we want is to do well for our­selves.” Yet with their striker Pu­leng Tlolane in scin­til­lat­ing form, the Chiefs de­fence – that might be with­out Bafana in­ter­na­tion­als Erick Mathoho and Tefu Mashamaite, should brace them­selves for a bat­tle royale of sorts.

Tlolane has scored in all of City’s last three matches to take him­self top of the Premier­ship’s scor­ers’ list with seven goals. It’s a feat a club of City’s lowly stature should rel­ish. But again Papic is not eas­ily pleased.

“Yes he has scored the goals and it’s very good for him and the club too. But that is not mean­ing any­thing,” he said tersely “He must con­tinue do­ing the job. He must not stop be­cause some­times play­ers get ex­cited and stop work­ing.”

With that kind of at­ti­tude, it is per­haps no won­der City are en­joy­ing the kind of form that sees them po­si­tioned sev­enth on 17 points, just a point be­hind sec­ond-placed Ajax Cape Town and 12 be­hind Amakhosi.

PIC­TURE: GALLO IMAGES

BACK­ING HIS SIDE: AB de Vil­liers be­lives the Proteas are the team to beat at next year’s World Cup de­spite their 4-1 ODI se­ries loss to Aus­tralia.

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