Chippa boss can now sleep easier
Chippa United boss Siviwe Mpengesi will sleep peacefully for the next few months, knowing his team managed to stave off the threat of a relegation battle.
When the Chilli Boys took on Kaizer Chiefs in a crucial league match on Saturday, Mpengesi sat in an isolated area on the top rung, far from the presidential suite at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Alongside him – and also on the edge of his seat – was team manager Wanda Mbenguzana, and the two watched anxiously as the drama unfolded.
Chippa won the game 1-0 to retain their Absa Premiership status as the team finished 12th on the log, three points clear of the relegation zone.
“It’s a relief that we survived,” Mpengesi said.
“Like everyone else we believed we did not deserve to be in this position,
“We are happy about what has happened but also we think it is an opportunity for us to plan for next season, so that next season we do not fight for relegation, we keep the team stable.”
Asked about the team’s plans for next season, the notoriously trigger-happy chair was quick to say: “Definitely to keep the coach.
“We also want to beef up the management as you all know that we are thin in the back office, especially after the exit of Morgan [Mammila], [Peter] Koutroulis and others.
“We also need to [get] a technical sponsor.
“This season we were very poor when it came to such matters,” he said.
Mpengesi admitted there were many things that did not go right for Chippa during the past season, but he plans to rectify them.
He said one of their biggest weaknesses was the selling of key players.
“We have lost many of our players.
“Now we have to start the team afresh and that won’t be easy.
“What we need to do now is to keep the majority of these players that we have so that we build on them.”
The Chilli Boys celebrate their 10-year anniversary this year and although the journey has been tough, Mpengesi says he is happy.
“It’s a milestone. We are no longer a new team or a small team.
“So we believe this Chippa United will be a different animal.
“I am very disappointed that the team could have made it into the final of the Nedbank Cup but it was a 50/50 situation where we were not sure that if we [won] the Nedbank, we would [then] win today’s game.”
Asked if there was anything in store for his players after hard-fought back-to-back victories against Polokwane City and Chiefs, Mpengesi said: “The big thing was for them to save their jobs by saving the team.”