Bucks told to keep their focus

Mthatha Bucks’ Ian Palmer felt optimistic about his team’s performance so far in their National First Division campaign as the team attempts to gain promotion to top- flight football.

IN HOT PURSUIT: Mthatha Bucks’ striker and current top goalscorer, Mpho Erasmus, left, challenges Witbank Spur’s Marvin Sikhosana for the ball during their National First Division encounter where they drew 1-1 at the Mthatha Stadium over the weekend Picture: SUPPLIED

Palmer addressed journalists after his side drew 1-1 against Witbank Spurs over the weekend at Mthatha when both teams scored in the last minutes of the game to bag one point each.

He said Mpho Erasmus was a goalscorer of note and last week he was very unlucky he couldn’t finish.

“He had three one on ones and he missed. We could have won 4-0 but that’s the nature of the game, and being a striker you are going to go through that stage as well, but he’s got about 20 goals in him.

“[Pentjie] Zulu will always give you Zulu. He can entertain the supporters and at the same time expose the opponent, so if you’re a plain coach you’ll say, hey, what you doing? You look this way and you pass the other, but we used to it and that’s what we need because he’s a quality player.”

He said he wants to prepare his team to win the league and reach targets he has set for the team in order to get through to the PSL.

“When we get maximum points next weekend we will still be within the targets. So we working on getting targets with every five games, and the league is still very young.

“The second round of the season is always tough, so that’s where it’s difficult to get points. My opinion is that as long we don’t drop, we pick up a point here and win there, it’s perfect, but as long we don’t lose.”

He said he wanted his new players to respect their jobs and give their all when they play.

“When you get on that field you have to play 200 miles an hour. You gotta play at a high tempo.

“You can’t allow players to have space on the ball. You need to close them down as quick as possible and you need to use your counter-attack properly as well, and I also need a lot of creative players,” said Palmer.

He said their next game against Uthongathi wouldn’t be a walk in the park, as one of his experienced players was still nursing a knee injury.

“We would normally go with two strikers, but unfortunately we lost Kangwa Chileshe to hopefully not a long-term injury. Lucky Mathosi – we just signed him last week, so I took the gamble of bringing him in during the game.

“Going away to Uthangathi, which is a difficult team to beat, they put pressure on the ball, but I have watched them on two occasions but I think they are too naive. So if we can expose their naivety, we can come back with three points.”

Top goalscorer at Bucks, who has rattled the net four times this season, Mpho Erasmus, said they were unlucky they didn’t win against Spurs as the Mpumalanga outfit only found an equaliser in the last minute.

“We knew that we had to fight for a win because they [Spurs] open up for goals, and now all I want to do is help the team win the league and reach the PSL.

“ I always score during gym and that makes it easy for me when I play, because even last season I scored 48 goals.

“I have my targets that I have set until December but I won’t say what they are in public because people could say a lot of things when I don’t reach them, and I don’t want to be under pressure.”

He said working under Palmer was a learning opportunity for him as the former Orlando Pirates player has the relevant PSL experience.

“I don’t get satisfied with scoring one goal, and I like to work hard and get more, especially now we didn’t even win.

“Maybe it was going to be different if we won because we are here to work and produce good results.”

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