Absa Premiership

Bloem Celtic coach John Maduka: We've got to be very clever against Baroka

John Maduka, Head Coach of Bloemfontein Celtic during the Bloemfontein Celtic media open day at Siwelele Park on March 11, 2020 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
John Maduka, Head Coach of Bloemfontein Celtic during the Bloemfontein Celtic media open day at Siwelele Park on March 11, 2020 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Frikkie Kapp

Bloemfontein Celtic coach John Maduka has openly said that Phunya Sele Sele will have to be "cautious" in their approach when they meet Baroka FC in the Nedbank Cup semi-final on Saturday.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) will resume over the weekend following a four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cup football will be first on the agenda as the Free State giants take on the Limpopo outfit in the Gauteng bio-bubble that the PSL created to complete the 2019/20 campaign.

Maduka, who has recently taken over from Lehlohonolo Seema as head coach, believes that the first few games will be "tricky" for the players due to lengthy lockdown layoff from competitive football.

"It's a very tricky game," said Maduka during a PSL-held virtual press conference ahead of the match at Orlando Stadium.

"We have not played any friendly games (during the lockdown). And as a team we’ve got to make sure that we’re very smart on that. We’ve got to be a bit cautious.

"We'll have to adapt and adjust on the day of the game and make sure that we are cautious on our plan on the day we play against Baroka.

"So, we've got to be very, very clever… but at the end of the day we’re all in the same situation so we have to go out there and compete.

"With the five substitutes it gives us an advantage when players are tired, it gives us an opportunity to introduce the other players that are a bit fresher."

The 49-year-old revealed that he is aware of the injury's players can pick up due to the lack of games because of the lockdown.

The former Malawian international has seen how things have unfolded in the European leagues after the Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and the La Liga have completed their campaigns in just under two months.

"In Europe, you have seen most of the teams have started slow and we do expect the same thing to happen the PSL," he continued.

"The games won’t be fast, the way they normally play as it has been a long time without playing football. It’s abnormal, we have never gone through a situation like this.

"So, you'll see that the games will be slow but as time goes on, that is when the games will start getting better and better.”

He added: "Injuries, we expect that. Remember also the game pushes you. You can only be in charge when you are in possession of the ball. When you don’t have the ball, you have to dance to the tune of your opponents."

The Celtic and Baroka match will kick-off at 14:00 (SA time).