Absa Premiership

We are more clever now – Baroka boss

VICTORIOUS:  Baroka FC players celebrate after retaining their Premiership status. (Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix)
VICTORIOUS: Baroka FC players celebrate after retaining their Premiership status. (Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix)

Johannesburg - Naivety, inexperience, excitement and floodlights contributed to Baroka FC’s downfall last season.

This is according to club boss Khurishi Mphahlele, who has promised to deal with and correct their shortcomings in the next season.

After using their lifeline and retaining their Premiership status, Mphahlele has promised the club will not go through the same experience again.

Not follow same path

He has admitted to being naive, reckless in the market and inexperienced in his first season in the Premiership, and this nearly cost the team their status.

He said they would use their lifeline to good effect. This is after the club retained its Premiership status after their victory in the promotion play-offs.

Bakgaga had finished 15th on the table and had to contest the play-offs with two other National First Division clubs – Black Leopards and Stellenbosch FC – to determine the second club to be promoted to top- flight football.

Mphahlele said the club had learnt from its mistakes and he vowed not to follow the same path in the next season.

“We have learnt our lessons and we are wiser now,” said a relieved Mphahlele.

“The excitement of gaining promotion went to our heads and we went overboard. We had about four players for each position. If you have never done something, you don’t know because you have never done it before and we were in that situation.”

He admitted to being reckless in the market by signing unsuitable players.

Identified areas

“At one stage, we had about 54 players, which is unacceptable. Last season, we just signed without proper trials, but we will not do that until we are satisfied we have what we need this year.”

He said they would sign no more than five players.

“We have already started with the clear-out because most of the players we got did not offer what we expected. But we were naive and, as a result, made lots of mistakes.”

He said they had already identified areas where they needed to reinforce their line-up.

“We are not going to make wholesale changes, but just here and there to reinforce where we think we are lacking.”

He promised a different approach next season.

“One of our downfalls was not using our homeground advantage as we only won once at home.”

Technical team

Interestingly, Mphahlele said his boys struggled under the floodlights.

“We will now also have to train in the evenings so that they get used to night matches.”

He said that, after having competed in four play-offs already, the days of seeing Baroka FC being involved in that format were gone.

Baroka have come through the ranks from the SAB League (2008) to the ABC Motsepe play-offs (twice, in 2012 and 2013) and now the promotion play-offs.

Mphahlele said they did not want to go through the stress of play-offs again.

“We must go to the play-offs only if you want promotion, not to avoid relegation.”

Baroka have already beefed up their technical team with the appointment of MacDonald Makhubedu as an assistant to coach Kgoloko Thobejane.

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