OPINION | Chippa heading into crunch time

Chippa United chairman Siviwe 'Chippa' Mpengesi.
Chippa United chairman Siviwe 'Chippa' Mpengesi.
Image: Backpagepix

As the DStv Premiership season enters the final stretch, all Eastern Cape eyes will be on embattled Chippa United.

Both soccer people and casual observers have almost become used to the self-inflicted issues that have manifested themselves ever since the club’s entry into the top flight of SA soccer in the 2012/2013 season.

This season has been their most diabolical with the double appointment and releasing of controversial Belgian coach Luc Eymael.

In previous seasons, Chippa were mocked for changing coaches so often, but there was a smidgen of silent respect for the way the club managed to survive relegation season in and out.

But the feeling is the club has lost the little respect they did have because of the blatant arrogance around the Eymael appointments.

On top of that, they find themselves in another fight to stay afloat in the premiership.

The highest Chippa have finished is sixth in 2015/2016, but for the remainder it has been a battle to avoid the big drop.

This season has been no different and that continues on Sunday against Golden Arrows in Gqeberha.

The Gqeberha side slid further into relegation mire after Tuesday’s night’s 1-0 defeat to Baroka at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The team have now gone 10 matches without winning in the league and are 15th (second last) on the log with 17 points through 23 games.

This week, club chair Siviwe Mpengesi roped in experienced coach Vladislav Heric as the team’s technical adviser in a bid to strengthen the dugout.

With only seven matches to play, Heric’s appointment is surely the last roll of the dice for Mpengesi this season.

He will now have to sit back, trust his technical team and players, and see how it all pans out.

The squad can take some confidence from how they have performed in the Nedbank Cup

Some will say that when you continue to play with fire you will eventually get burnt.

But Mpengesi will be hoping to douse that flame and see his team live to fight another day in the premiership.

The squad can take some confidence from how they have performed in the Nedbank Cup.

Chippa made history last weekend when they booked themselves a berth in their first Cup final.

The Chilli Boys beat Pretoria Callies 1-0 in the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup and now play TTM in the final for a chance to lift the trophy at the Bloemfontein Stadium on May 8.

But at the same time that will be furthest from their minds when they tackle Arrows on Sunday.

The province will be watching and a win would perhaps go a long way to helping them regaining some lost friends.


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