Black Leopards boss awaits results under new coach
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