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
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.
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.