Highlands get late start

- Tshepang Mailwane

HIGHLANDS Park’s campaign will begin a bit later than the rest of their Absa Premiershi­p rivals, following their participat­ion in the relegation/promotion play-offs.

The PSL is yet to release fixtures for the upcoming season, but coach Allan Freese has revealed that their campaign will only begin in September, about three weeks after the start of the Premiershi­p on August 23.

“Fortunatel­y, we start on September 13 after everybody, so we have time to prepare. I would like us to end as high as possible in the league. We don’t want that [to fight relegation]. We are still in the process of organising where we will go for pre-season,” said Freese this week.

Highlands won promotion via the play-offs last month and only returned to start preparing for the new season on Monday.

The challenge Freese has right now is to get his 12 new players to gel with the 18 that were kept.

“I am quite happy with the signings. We thought we needed to strengthen and we did that,” said the former Platinum Stars coach.

“We are hoping that we can gel as quickly as possible. It’s not going to be easy to integrate them with the other players. I don’t think we will be signing any more players.”

Highlands had the best defence in the First Division last season – conceding just 18 goals – and Freese knows that the key to success in the coming campaign will be a solid rearguard. The signing of players such as Eddie Ngalo and Botswana internatio­nal Lebogang Ditsele will certainly help in their mission to shut the back door.

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