Larsen has magic wand for Celtic

2011-03-12 20:06

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Clinton Larsen has challenged his players to maintain their unbeaten home record in the remaining three fixtures at ­Seisa Ramabodu.

Not given a chance to last beyond the first round of the season, Larsen has surprised many in his first stint as a head coach and he has led Celtic to 13 games unbeaten at home.

With three more home matches against Moroka Swallows, Free State Stars and Black Aces, Larsen is confident they can finish the season without a home defeat.

Even after winning the October/November Absa Premiership Coach of the Month title, however, the 40-year-old has not let success go to his head and has kept his feet firmly on the ground.

Larsen attributes his success to his mentors.

He says what he learnt from the likes of Mike Makaab, Ted Dumitru, Eddie Lewis, Viktor Bondarenko and Clive Barker has helped to shape his coaching career.

He has also paid tribute to mentors he worked under and said Mlungisi “Professor” Ngubane, Gordon Igesund and Owen da Gama contributed immensely to his success.

Larsen’s secret is having a good relationship with the players and knowing how to manage them.

“I remember as a player I knew exactly how I wanted the coach to treat and talk to me, and that has helped me to build a great rapport with the players,” he said.

Larsen’s foundation is laid on novices like defender ­Mulomowandau Mathoho, who has collected six Man of the Match awards in his debut
season, Prince Hlela and Denis Kalala.

He said at the beginning of the season he set a target of 48 points, and with six more games to go, Celtic are eight points from achieving Larsen’s wish as they are on 40.

“At the beginning of the season we said we wanted 24 points at the half-way mark, and we got 25.

We are also on course to achieving and even surpassing the target of 48 we aimed for and that would be a great achievement.”

The former Manning Rangers midfielder has advice for former players.

“Former professionals stay out of touch for so long and it is very difficult to bounce back. I have never been out of the game since retiring in 2003. It has been a long journey to get where I am today, as I have spent five seasons in the first division and I have also coached in the Vodacom League, and that experience has helped me.

“But I am not getting carried away and will always keep my feet on the ground and keep working hard because there is still a long way to go.”

He said, however, he could not have done it had it not been for the contribution of his back-room staff – assistant coach Molefi Ntseki; Andre Bronkhorst, who is a goalkeeper coach; and technical director Mich d’Avray.

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