Promising Tshakhuma on redemption path
WHEN Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) owners roped in Sello Chokoe as head coach, they expressed confidence in the stocky but master tactician to transform the Limpopo side into a formidable juggernaut.
His strategic intelligence in the dugout will be under scrutiny again on Saturday when Vhadau Vha Damane welcome Royal Eagles at the Giyani stadium in the National First Division (NFD) encounter at 15:30pm.
Chokoe, who had stints with Baroka FC and Black Leopards, crafted plan that has seen TTM going six matches without a loss until last weekend’s unexpected 3-0 drubbing by Mbombela United.
Following a haphazard pre-season preparation, they started their campaign slowly but managed to turn the tables around.
Their away defeat over on Sunday relegated them to the eighth spot, but Chokoe says he is still hopeful for a top-four finish.
“Quite frankly, it was not easy when I was appointed coach at this team. At the beginning we had a short-term plan of making sure we settle as quickly as possible because we didn’t want to find ourselves at the wrong end of the log.
“It was always going to be difficult, especially for a new team. When other teams were in pre-season training, we were still looking for players and that affected us in a way.
“If it wasn’t for that stressful preseason situation, our position on the log would be better than where we are now. However, with the recent performance, I am pleased that we will finish the season with an impressive record.”
Indeed, TTM have been impressive in their maiden campaign in the second tier of SA football, unless they slip at a crucial stage.
Chokoe said he has already cautioned his charges not to be complacent, saying that could have dire consequences.
“Every time ahead of a game, I remind the players to treat such a league match as if it’s a cup final. Fortunately, they have ears and can listen.
“My players needed time to gel and as a coach you need to get your philosophy right to get your players to understand how you want them to play as a combative unit.
“But for me, I think we have progressed and I’m very, very happy with the players that we have signed. It shows that we have signed quality players although we didn’t have enough time to get players that we wanted.
“But the players that we brought in have shown that they are of good quality,” he said.
Chokoe revealed that he is planning to bolster his squad in January, hoping that he can navigate the team to the Absa Premiership.
“You cannot be satisfied with what you have. You always want to have the best of the best. That is why, come January we need to reinforce the team and push for promotion,” he said.
Though they will be facing a struggling side on Saturday, Chokoe said they will not treat Royal Eagles lightly.
“We will not make such a mistake. We are going into this match with our A-Game. We intend to unleash a full brunt of assault on them and that’s what they will get on Saturday,” he reckoned.