‘We shot selves in the foot’

2011-05-14 16:49

Vasco da Gama coach Carlos das Neves has ­described his side’s debut season in the Absa Premiership as “disappointing and very painful”.

“We brought ourselves into this situation,” lamented Das Neves this week. His side is now hoping for a miracle on the final day on May 21 to escape the relegation play-offs.

Where did it all go wrong after a promising start to the campaign?

“We threw it all away,” he explained.

“I can give you a few scenarios: In the game against Santos (January 19) there were about six seconds left before full time but we lost 1-0.

“Against Maritzburg United (March 5) we were 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go and we drew 2-all,” said Das Neves.

“Against AmaZulu (February 26) the score was 2-1 in our favour at half-time and we drew 3-3. The same happened against Moroka Swallows (April 16) when we were 2-1 up at half-time but we went on to lose 3-2.”

Vasco’s captain and leading goalscorer with 11 goals, Sibusiso Zuma, said: “We allowed teams to steal points from us at crucial moments in the game.
“We are able to score goals but the lack of experience killed us as we got silly red cards and gave away goals easily.”

Das Neves, who is an accountant, added that the club – where he serves on the board with his siblings, Paolo and Mario – also had to contend with limited financial resources.

“One needs money in this game and we depended mostly on the PSL’s R1 million grant. We had to do with what we had in terms of the playing personnel.”

The Capetonians’ biggest coup was Zuma, whom they acquired on a free transfer from ­FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark.

The 35-year-old confirmed that he would play for ­SuperSport United next season.

It was “Rhee’s” six goals in 10 matches that catapulted the rookies inside a top eight bracket prior to the end of the first round.

In the process Vasco scored three wins in succession, beating Kaizer Chiefs 3-2, Maritzburg ­United 3-2 and AmaZulu 3-1 and went to the festive recess on position eight, their highest ranking since gaining promotion at the start of the campaign.

But it all fell apart midway into the second round when they lost 6-0 to Bidvest Wits and suffered another heavy defeat – 5-3 – to Platinum Stars, all in the space of 10 games.

Having conceded 47 goals in 29 league matches – the second-worst defence jointly with Golden ­Arrows – Vasco are in danger of forfeiting their Premiership status.

Das Neves has vowed to soldier on now that there is still an outside chance to escape the play-offs.

But Vasco should bag maximum points against Santos if Swallows lose to Mpumalanga Black Aces on the closing day in a week’s time to remain in the elite league.

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