Stars coach fight­ing rel­e­ga­tion dif­fer­ently

Tells play­ers to aim for fel­low strug­glers

Sunday World - - Sport - By Sihle Nde­bele

Prob­a­bly a trick to al­le­vi­ate pres­sure off his play­ers, Free State Stars coach Nikola Kava­zovic has weirdly urged his play­ers to be bullish only against fel­low rel­e­ga­tion can­di­dates.

Kava­zovic ap­peared to be im­ply­ing Stars don’t nec­es­sar­ily need points against top of the ta­ble sides.

“When strug­gling teams play each other, it’s not three points but six points.

“The most im­por­tant thing is to win the games against di­rect com­pe­ti­tion for rel­e­ga­tion,’’ said Kava­zovic, fol­low­ing their 2-1 win at Mar­itzburg United on Wed­nes­day.

The victory was Kava­zovic’s sec­ond match in charge of Stars af­ter Bid­vest Wits handed him a 3-1 thump­ing in his de­but match in the Pre­mier Soc­cer League. Stars’ next league fix­ture is away to Cape Town City on Wed­nes­day.

“Ev­ery ad­di­tional point against the teams at the top will be a bonus for us. We are go­ing to Cape Town with­out any pres­sure.

“We do not need points over there, if we take some, be­cause they are in great shape at the mo­ment, that would be a bonus.

“We are go­ing there to en­joy our game. We have noth­ing to lose,” the Ser­bian-born coach said.

Be­fore their win against Mar­itzburg, Stars had gone six games with­out a win, with four losses and two draws.

Just two games into his job, Kava­zovic is al­ready tar­get­ing a top-eight fin­ish.

“Af­ter those two games [against Wits and Mar­itzburg], I am pretty sure that we will avoid rel­e­ga­tion. With this qual­ity, I even think we can reach top eight,’’ said Kava­zovic of the team he has trans­formed since re­plac­ing Luc Ey­mael last month.

/ Gavin Barker /Back­pagePix

Nikola Kava­zovic.

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