Malesela weighs up options in league fight

Dan Malesela
File picture: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images

Coach Dan Malesela is considering all his options as he strives to engineer a master plan that will keep Chippa United in the Premier Soccer League.

With only a game left in the fight for survival, the Port Elizabeth soccer team need only one point – against Free State Stars, at Goble Park in Bethlehem, on Saturday – to pull it off.

“Dance” Malesela said he would decide between going all out for a win or only trying settle for a draw.

The squad’s training session this week started off a bit sluggishly, after an exhausting knockout Nebank Cup game at the weekend.

Chippa were beaten on penalties by SuperSport United after the game ended in a goalless draw in Mdantsane, East London.

But Malesela said his team were over that defeat and focusing fully on saving their league status.

The Chilli Boys are 13th on the PSL log with 27 points from 29 matches.

Only a point separates them from second-frombottom Highlands Park.

Malesela said they would be careful in how they approached the game against Stars.

“Everything that we are doing now is only tactical,” he said.

“We have to look at how we approach that match, as there are quite a number of factors to consider.

“The biggest one would be the position and what are the permutations. Do you go all out to win or do you play for a draw – we have options.

“Option one is to win and option two to draw, which is probably putting pressure on Stars.

“But, having said that, it also puts pressure on us because, psychologically, the Free State Stars team would have the greater need to win.”

Although not giving any more away, Malesela said yesterday’s training was purely based on how Chippa United would approach the game, with Stars also fighting for their lives.

Stars are 14th on the log and also have 27 points from 29 games. They are level with Chippa but Malesela’s troops are above them due to a better goal difference.

The coach said there was no need to put pressure on his men as they knew how crucial the game was.

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