Tovey’s SA coaching prospect on the line

2012-06-14 00:00

THE promotional play-offs fixtures will resume this weekend following the arbitration outcome in the case of National First Division (NFD) clubs Chippa United and Blackburn Rovers.

Rovers had lodged a complaint against Chippa, alleging that they fielded an improperly registered player. After the PSL disciplinary committe had ruled in Chippa’s favour, Rovers took the matter to arbitration where they were again dealt a blow.

Chippa finished second on the NFD log while Rovers finished in fourth position behind Thanda Royal Zulu, who have already played one game in the playoffs programme.

Thanda, who are KZN’s hopes, lost 1-0 to Santos in their home match in Richards Bay two weeks ago and will play Chippa at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday at 8.15 pm.

Thanda desperately need to get their promotion back on track by getting a positive result against an unpredictable Chippa side in the windy Mother City.

Failure to put away chances has been Neil Tovey’s side’s Achilles heel and this might come back to haunt them at this crucial juncture. Critics have been on Tovey’s case all season long, questioning the former Bafana Bafana skipper’s tactics of using a lone striker in the home games.

This was evident in the Santos game, where Thanda barely put the Cape Town side on the back foot and only exterted themselves in the game in the second half.

Against Chippa, coached by KZN-born Roger Sikhakhane, Tovey will have to come up with a solid plan if he harbours any hopes of gaining promotion.

Failure in the playoffs will dent Tovey’s hopes as he is among the candidates shortlisted for the Bafana Bafana head coach job.

Thanda communications manager Thabani Gumede said the postponement of the playoffs had affected their preparations.

“But the boys know what is expected of them as the management has invested so much in the team.

“We can’t afford to disappoint our sponsors and the entire Zululand region,” said Gumede who announced there were no injuries in the squad.

FIXTURES

Saturday: Chippa United v. Thanda Royal Zulu (Athlone Stadium, 8.15 pm)

June 20: Santos v. Chippa United (Athlone Stadium, 7.30 pm)

June 23: Santos v. Thanda Royal Zulu (Athlone Stadium, 8.15 pm)

June 27: Thanda Royal Zulu v. Chippa United (Richards Bay Stadium, 2 pm)

June 30: Chippa United v. Santos (Athlone Stadium, 3 pm)

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