Chance to rule play­offs

Baroka know how to score but can’t pro­tect their lead, says Mh­lathi

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MOHAU RAMASHIDJA

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.