‘Clear-out did the trick for Chippa’
The clear-out of players by the club has been a wake-up call for the squad, Chippa United veteran Andile Mbenyane said.
The Port Elizabeth professional soccer club laid off 13 players in January as part of the team’s restructuring process.
Since the exodus, the Chilli Boys seem to have turned the corner. Chippa have had a good run, going four matches without a loss.
Their most recent win was a 2-0 triumph over Free State Stars in an Absa Premiership fixture on Saturday.
“I think for us as players we saw that it’s about time for everyone to work hard,” Mbenyane said. “We saw many players leaving the team during the window period, which showed that anyone can lose their job at any time if the results are not coming.
“It gave us a scare, but what I have picked out from that process is that, as long as you are still in the game, you have to push hard to keep your job.”
The attacking midfielder said coach Clinton Larsen had also done a great job in terms of lifting the spirit of the players.
“The guy just came in and motivated us.
“He did not want to change a lot of things.
“He just took up from where the other coach left off.
“We have a small squad now so everybody stands a chance to play, so there will be no one dragging their feet at training.
“Players will push hard because they know they stand a chance of playing.
“Even as players we have started to motivate each other to work hard.
“We know that we don’t deserve to be in the position that we are in.
“We have a good team. Maybe we are just lacking hard work because talent alone is not enough.”
The 30-year-old from Paarl said the recent good results had made training sessions more pleasant because the players were happy and were putting in extra work at practice.
After beating Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1, Chippa are now preparing to take on National First Division side Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in the last16 of the Nedbank Cup at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Mbenyane believes getting two early goals could put the Limpopo side on the back foot.
“We are worried about that because Tshakhuma are playing good football and they will give us a tough time,” Mbenyane said.
“The best way to win against these NFD teams is to score early because if they get to 45 minutes and the score is 0-0 they gain confidence and will come at you after the break.”..