Chippa United interim coach Mbuyiselo Sambu knows he has a huge task on his shoulders with only four matches of his team’s Premier Soccer League campaign remaining.
The Port Elizabeth side are only two points away from the danger zone and Sambu has been identified as the man who will help the Chilli Boys back to safety, starting with the team’s next assignment against Ajax at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Saturday (3pm).
The former Chippa player, who was promoted to assistant coach last season, has taken the hot seat after head coach Dan Malesela was placed on “special leave” last week.
His first game in charge was a 2-1 loss against Soweto giants Orlando Pirates at the weekend.
The change in leadership has come at a crucial time as the team continue to fight their slide down the log. They now find themselves in 13th position on the log with 24 points from 26 matches. Despite the pressure, Sambu said this was not the time to panic.
“Our situation needs a lot of calmness because really, if you panic, you will end up making many unnecessary mistake,” he said.
“There is always pressure in football – even if there was someone else in my position, there will always be pressure.
“The remaining games are very tricky because we are playing teams who are in the same situation as us.
“Those are the games that can decide our fate in terms of our PSL status. So we have to be very careful because any mistake now can be very costly.”
Aware of the huge task that has been placed on his shoulders, the former Free State Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic defender said he was ready.
“I might not have the experience in terms of coaching but my attitude towards the task at hand is positive, because I know there is a lot at stake.
“Beside the games, there are also stakeholders, supporters, management and players. I have a strong support around me .”
Sambu said he was fortunate to be working with people who had been in the game for so long and knew how to get out of sticky situations and deal with challenges.
“My attitude towards this challenge is key because I have to be confident, so that it can be transferred to the players. The mandate is straight forward. I have to make sure that we win the remaining matches to make sure that the team is safe,” he said.
“The players understand now it’s not a matter of who’s in charge, it’s a matter of getting the results.
“You can tell from the energy that they have at training that everyone really wants to help the club.”