Black Leop­ards boss awaits re­sults un­der new coach

African Times - - Sport - MOYAHABO MABEBA

BLACK Leop­ards boss David Thi­diela and the legion of devo­tees who wor­ship at the al­tar of the club are wait­ing im­pa­tiently to see the team’s re­turn to the Absa Premier­ship.

But the wait­ing seems to be tak­ing too long for the team which goes by the so­bri­quet of Li­doda Du­vha.

On Satur­day, Leop­ards will be search­ing for three valu­able points at the Harry Gwala Sta­dium where they have a date with Royal Ea­gles for their Na­tional First Di­vi­sion as­sign­ment. Kick-off is at 15:00.

Their trek to the Zulu King­dom seems stress-free fol­low­ing a morale­boost­ing 2-1 vic­tory over Su­per Ea­gles at Goble Park last Satur­day.

They will rely on newly-ap­pointed men­tor Ivan Min­naert whom the team is hop­ing he will make a dif­fer­ence in the squad. He has signed a three-year contract.

The Bel­gian, who has pre­vi­ously worked for clubs in Guinea, Rwanda, Kenya and Mali, took charge of the af­ter the club sacked Jean Losci­uto.

How­ever, their coun­ter­parts this week­end are no pushovers as they are also strug­gling for re­sults, some­thing that is mo­ti­va­tional fac­tor in the Li­doda Du­vha camp.

Royal Ea­gles have played to a 2-2 draw against Leop­ards’Vhembe neigh­bours, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila over the week­end at Tho­hoyan­dou Sta­dium and will be hop­ing to add more points to move up the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Min­naert says he has faith in his play­ers:“There is huge pos­si­bil­ity that we can end up be­ing cham­pi­ons. Within the first few days I have worked with them, I have seen amaz­ing po­ten­tial.

“I al­ways ask my­self what could have gone wrong be­fore but that’s not the an­swer that I am ac­tu­ally look­ing for. What is im­por­tant is to get re­sults and be in a bet­ter po­si­tion.

“Re­mem­ber, the ob­jec­tive is to win the game at hand and then we take it game by game.

“We can­not say we are go­ing to be cham­pion now, but we need to try to re­cover ev­ery week and take points back and this is what we are go­ing to try to do.”

Tak­ing the reins from some­one who has per­formed dis­mally was not an easy task for Min­naert. How­ever, he said: “We will try make some changes in the team. It’s dif­fi­cult to take over at this time but we are go­ing to try to make it as best as pos­si­ble. I have a contract of three years, so I am hop­ing not to be here for a short time.”

Min­naert be­lieves his ex­pe­ri­ence of coach­ing in Africa will help him im­mensely at Leop­ards.

“I am an African al­ready be­cause the last five or six years, I have worked in Africa,” he said.

Min­naert says it will be cor­rect to com­pare Leop­ards with some of the top di­vi­sion teams in the con­ti­nent. Ahead of this game, he em­pha­sised con­sis­tent pres­ence in the op­po­si­tion’s box.

OTHER NFD FIX­TURES Satur­day, December 2

Ubuntu Cape Town vs Cape All Stars (Athlone Sta­dium) Richards Bay FC vs High­lands Park (Umh­lathuze Sports Com­plex) Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria vs TTM FC (Tuks Sta­dium)

Wit­bank Spurs vs Jomo Cos­mos (Puma Rugby Sta­dium) Uthon­gathi FC vs Real Kings (Princess Ma­gogo Sta­dium)

Sun­day December, 3 Mbombela United vs Mthatha Bucks (Kanya­mazane Sta­dium) All games start at 15:30

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