Tough test for re­hired Chippa coach Heric

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - SPORT - Vuyokazi Nkanjeni nkan­jeniv@ti­soblack­

SER­BIAN coach Vladislav Heric, who has been re­united with his for­mer team Chippa United, will have his first match in charge to­day when his side play Free State Stars in a Ned­bank Cup last-16 fix­ture at Globe Park (3.30pm).

Heric took of­fice this week, re­plac­ing Te­boho Moloi, who was fired for fail­ure to pro­duce re­sults.

The for­mer Bay United coach steps in at a cru­cial time when Chippa are in need of points to avoid rel­e­ga­tion.

A win to­day could bring some com­fort to Chippa boss Siviwe Mpen­gesi by in­di­cat­ing he made the cor­rect choice in Heric.

Chippa had an in­cred­i­ble run in the Ned­bank Cup com­pe­ti­tion last year, be­fore they were booted out by Su­per­sport United in the semi­fi­nals on penal­ties.

The 50-year-old coach will be ex­pected to fol­low that trail or go as far as win­ning the tour­na­ment.

Aware of the pres­sure that goes with to­day’s game, Heric said he was look­ing for­ward to the match.

“We have a very tough game, it’s not go­ing to be easy,” he said.

“I am not un­der­min­ing our op­po­nents, they are very good, but we are also good. I am look­ing for­ward to this game and I am happy that all eyes will be on me.

“It will be dif­fi­cult to play at Goble Park, but in a cup game any­thing can hap­pen. The cup is some­thing else, it’s not like the league. There is lot of pres­sure in the cup be­cause if you lose you are out.

“As we have pres­sure, they also have pres­sure.”

The coach said his fo­cus this week dur­ing train­ing had been to teach his play­ers to main­tain con­cen­tra­tion at all times.

“The other thing is de­ci­sion­mak­ing. it is very poor, and they have to im­prove their re­ac­tion speed.”

Mean­while, Stars coach Luc Ey­mael is wary of player burnout in the fi­nal few months of the sea­son as the club push for twin hon­ours in the Absa Premier­ship and Ned­bank Cup.

Ey­mael‚ who was a phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher back home in Bel­gium‚ has de­vised a spe­cial pro­gramme to en­sure his play­ers are not over­worked in what is a cru­cial time of the cam­paign.

“I have a very good fit­ness trainer at the club in Riedoh Ber­dien and I know what I am talk­ing about too‚ so we speak the same lan­guage in what we are try­ing to achieve‚” he said.

“It is im­por­tant to make sure we have the play­ers in top con­di­tion and to limit in­juries.

“You can­not train in this pe­riod how you would in other parts of the sea­son. You have to have spe­cific plans and you must look after the play­ers a lit­tle bit.”

Ber­dien is also fit­ness trainer for the Togo na­tional team.

Stars are on a fan­tas­tic run of form, los­ing just once in the last 11 games‚ el­e­vat­ing the team to third in the league and keep­ing them in con­tention for the Ned­bank Cup.

It seems to be pay­ing div­i­dends. The club have scored 25% of their league goals in the fi­nal 15 min­utes of matches‚ sug­gest­ing they are fin­ish­ing games strongly. – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Nick Said

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