Chippa coach happy to pick up another point in PSL clash

MY BALL: Chippa United’s Tercious Malepe, left, is challenged by Judas Moseamedi of Maritzburg United in their Premier Soccer League clash in Mdantsane on Saturday
MY BALL: Chippa United’s Tercious Malepe, left, is challenged by Judas Moseamedi of Maritzburg United in their Premier Soccer League clash in Mdantsane on Saturday

Chippa United fell short of reaching the top-eight bracket after they were held to a 0-0 draw against Maritzburg United during an Absa Premiership soccer match at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane near East London over the weekend.

But coach Norman Mapeza said he was thrilled with the one point that elevated his side to 21 points from 18 matches when he addressed a post-match briefing. 

He said the single point would carry them down the line as the second round of PSL progressed.

The Zimbabwean-born mentor, 47, praised his charges for not conceding any goals in the match although “the odds were stacked” against them leading up to the game as they were constantly travelling.

“It was a good game ... I think we had our moments and they also had their moments.

“In the second half, we had good opportunities and I’m happy for the boys and for us it’s a massive point,”  Mapeza said.

“We were in Polokwane recently, we went to Thohoyandou and then we had to drive to Johannesburg and take a flight to East London to [play in] these [bad] conditions of the pitch.

“It’s very difficult but I’m proud of my boys — they worked hard.

“In football it’s all about the mentality and you must keep believing — it’s all about the desire to get the positive results and players must be motivated and you can see that they want to push and get something at the end of  the day.”

Mapeza continued to shower his players with compliments.

The Chilli Boys have played four out of five matches away and Mapeza conceded that too much travelling had had adverse consequences for his players.

Regardless of the circumstances, they have to fight tooth and nail to run away from the relegation zone while there’s still time to do so.

“I think I said it when I first came here that the objective is to survive relegation.

“I’m not a prophet so I won’t make any predictions. But we are working and our target is to survive relegation.

“It’s not easy collecting three points in this league —  even a point is not easy, so for us this is a massive point and I’m very grateful for it and this point will carry us somewhere.

“It rained and that was nature so there was nothing we can do.”

Meanwhile,  Maritzburg United head coach Eric Tinkler strongly criticised the Sisa Dukashe Stadium pitch.

Tinkler commended his players on battling for a point despite the poor playing conditions.

“We commanded the game well from the first whistle and I think they had a lot of possession in that first 15-20 minute period but it was a very negative position in their own half,” he said.

“They weren’t going to hurt us. It’s only once or twice they played the long ball over the top, but I thought we dealt with that very well,”  Tinkler said.

“Our transitions on the ball were not great tonight, but I can’t criticise anyone because tonight we played in the longest field in the league [120m long]. 

“The grass was way too long — it was very heavy and thick and it’s very uneven.

“So to sit and criticise the players would be wrong of me because the field really didn’t help.

“It was heavy and I thought for both teams in the second half, you could see cramps developing and this was our third game in a week so that’s expected — to see players start struggling and cramping,”  Tinkler said. — Daily Dispatch

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