Black Leopards’ coach wary of buoyant Aces

2010-04-02 00:00

BLACK Leopards coach Vladislav Heric has warned his team against complacency when they host Mpumalanga Black Aces at Tshifulanani Stadium, in Venda tomorrow.

Leopards and Aces meet in the two-leg promotional play-offs to fill the 16th place in the Premier Soccer League, following the relegation of Jomo Cosmos to the National First Division.

Heric’s warning comes after Leopards nearly threw away the chance of regaining their PSL status, surprisingly losing 3-2 to African Warriors in the Free State last Wednesday.

Limpopo-based Leopards had beaten Warriors 4-0 in the first leg. However, they managed to stage a comeback, scoring two late goals, thus progressing to the finals 6-3 on aggregate. “It was a big lesson for us, as we made costly mistakes which we mustn’t commit again if we are serious about promotion,” said Serbian-born Heric.

Coming up against an Aces side, which defied all odds to survive the Nathi Lions’ onslaught two weeks ago, should require total commitment from Heric’s boys.

Aces had looked dead and buried going into the second-leg tie against Lions, who gave them a hard time in Witbank, coming back from behind to draw 2-2.

In the return match in the Lions’ back yard in Durban, Aces produced a sterling performance, clinching a 2-0 victory.

“We are aware of what Aces can do. They have got the experience of playing in the Premiership. We respect them, but we are not afraid to take them on. It’s now or never for them,” said Heric.

Aces midfielder Lindokuhle Mbatha expects a tough afternoon in Venda, with the sweltering heat set to take its toll on the visitors.

“We have been told that it is not easy to come back from Venda because of the heat. Getting that good result against Lions after we had been written off has boosted our confidence.”

Amazayoni will be bidding to become the second team to successfully retain PSL status via the play-offs. AmaZulu did this in 2006.

The return match is set for Puma Rugby Stadium in Witbank on Wednesday night.

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