Chance to rule playoffs
Baroka know how to score but can’t protect their lead, says Mhlathi
FORMER Jomo Cosmos midfielder and now NFD football analyst, Lucky Mhlathi, believes today’s clash between Black Leopards and Baroka FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium (kickoff 3pm), has the makings of a draw – the third such outcome in the playoffs series.
And that’s because both sides have the make-up and emply the tactic which are tailor-made for producing such a result.
“If you look at how Baroka played in their first playoff match against Stellenbosch FC, you’ll see this,” Mhlathi said.
“They scored first in that 2-2 draw, but ended up conceding an equaliser, twice, later on.
“They know how to find the back of the net, but cannot protect their lead. That is their weakness.
“Another point is that Baroka managed to produce only a single win (2-1 against Free State Stars) at home this past season in their league campaign.
“These stats suggest that they are relatively weak at home and this is a perfect opportunity for their opponents to pounce in today’s match-up.
“Leopards on the other hand are very solid at the back,” Mhlathi continued.
“They know how to infiltrate their opponents in the final third.
“The only problem is that they cannot score from the many chances they are able to create through their skipper, Siphelele Ntshangase (pictured), up front. “Mwape Musonda hasn’t been clinical in front of goal for them, but I reckon that he’ll score just as long as they continue playing him.”
A win for either side in this contest would see either Baroka or Leopards overtake Stellenbosch FC at the top of the mini-table – and open up a two-point gap.
Should the encounter end in a “score” draw, though, the Bakgaga outfit would then be the ones atop mini-table ahead of the Western Cape outfit, due to a higher goal tally halfway through the three-team shootout. Stellenbosch also drew 0-0 against Leopards. Meanwhile, Mhlathi heaped praise on Leopards coach, Jean Luscuito, saying that he had done extremely well, having taken on the job with the side flirting with relegation, and then getting them to finish second in the league. “When Luscuito came in, Leopards were 13th or 14th in the league standings,” Mhlathi said.
“What he went on to achieve with his side, having joined them in the middle of the season, I find extremely impressive.
“The players responded really well to his philosophy. They adapted quite quickly.
On the subject of Musonda, though, Mhlathi added: “He just needs to get himself into the habit of remaining behind in training and hitting the back of the net all by himself.
“It might sound silly but great players in the world, like the former Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy, would do that so that they could be sharper in front of goal on match day.
“That’s all Musonda needs to work on, really. But otherwise he’s a top player.”