Chippa United coach Dan “Dance” Malesela does not want to read too much into Saturday’s 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs in the Premier’s Cup at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane.
And if the Chilli Boys are to avoid fighting relegation come the end of the 2017/18 Absa Premiership league, Malesela said he has to work on his players’ mental strength.
He told journalists on Saturday that he has to work on “fixing” the players’ minds ahead of the start of the season.
“We need to be very stable. We need to be very consistent in terms of our thinking because this game is controlled by this thing, upstairs,” he said pointing to his head.
“So we need to fix our minds so that we can sustain game moments for 90 minutes or even more.”
Malesela said it would be disrespectful to the other 15 teams in the league if he were to predict where they would finish this season, using Saturday’s game as an example.
“You can’t judge through this game, you know, otherwise I’d be disrespecting other PSL clubs. We play Kaizer Chiefs and I’m thinking other PSL clubs are a walkover or something. That would be very wrong of me.
“You can’t judge now. You have to take a number of games in the league and then start saying ‘oh now there’s direction’. And you must understand [with] friendlies sometimes people want to impress to [be in] the starting lineup, and you’d be deceived if you start thinking we have arrived or anything like that,” he said.
Malesela said he was yet to sit with his technical team and players and decide how many points they were targeting this season so that they will not find themselves in the same possession as last year.
“One thing for sure is that we don’t want to lose our home games – not at all,” he said.
Last season the Chilli Boys played their beautiful carpet football but leaked goals. They conceded silly goals, something that the coach bemoaned several times last season.
But judging from the pre-season games so far, it would appear that the team’s defensive woes have been solved.
“Throughout all the friendlies, besides this one, I think we played six, today was our seventh, no eighth game and we conceded one out of all these games. So it’s quite pleasing to see,” Malesela said.
He said new recruits and those that had been on the fringe like Sizwe Mdlinzo, had put up their hands.
“To understand a coach’s philosophy, sometimes for other people it takes time. But I think that’s the best way to learn and once you grasp, once you understand, you sort of understand better than anybody, because you took a long time.
“You were learning and learning. Sizwe went through that phase and now he has learned and that’s why he’s performing the way he is,” he said.
Mdlinzo was a marvel to watch in the middle of the park as he dictated the pace of the game very well especially in the first half.
Asked if Chippa would miss their former captain Thamsanqa Sangweni who left to join Orlando Pirates, Malesela said: “If you miss a player then you’re wasting your time. Players will come and go all the time. You can’t miss players. You have to move on with what you have.”
Chiefs coach Steve Komphela was also happy with how his experimental team played.
“Chippa play good football and I think they gave us a good exercise in the first half where we needed to control them.
“There were players we needed to see play and we are happy we can go back to the drawing board. We want to be able to change the whole team and still not feel a pinch.
“In the second half we played better than the first half, for instance if I take out [Willard] Katsande and put in [Wiseman] Meyiwa we must still be there, so you tend to work things until they are tight,” Komphela said.
He said had they played the same way they did in the Carling Black Label Cup against Pirates, things would have turned out differently.
“Meyiwa played very well today. Philani Zulu was okay, Kgotso Malope also played well, Dumisani Zuma also gave me something to smile about, Keagan Buchanan also played well today.
“You must not take away anything from Chippa, they play with patience and stress free and they play very good football.
“We are ready for the MTN 8 [against SuperSport United at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday] because I feel our preparations are on track so far,” he said.
Chippa open their PSL campaign against Pirates on August 19 at Orlando Stadium while Chiefs will travel to Free State Stadium for a date with Bloemfontein Celtic to get their league campaign off the ground on August 20.