Buoyant Chippa resting up before cup final

Kurt Lentjies of Chippa United during the DStv Premiership game against Stellenbosch at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Saturday.
GOAL SCORER: Kurt Lentjies of Chippa United during the DStv Premiership game against Stellenbosch at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Saturday.
Image: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Chippa United head coach Vladislav Heric will give his players a few days off to recuperate before the Nedbank Cup final after two hard-fought victories in the league.

The Gqeberha side recorded their second consecutive win with a 1-0 triumph over Stellenbosch at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Saturday.

An early goal from veteran midfielder Kurt Lentjies was enough to help Chippa move out of the relegation zone and into 14th position on the log.

Saturday’s success comes after the club’s 1-0 win against Kaizer Chiefs on Wednesday.

Despite the team’s sudden success, Chippa are not yet out of the woods.

Only two points separate them from relegation playoff candidates TTM, whom they will face in the Nedbank final in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Heric, 54, knows he will need an fully-energised squad if he wants to lead Chippa to their first ever cup final victory.

“We are going to take two days off,” the Serbian coach said.

“I have to rest the players for two days and then we will come back [to training] on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and see how it goes.

“Friday we’ll train there.”

Reflecting on the league win, Heric said they were going to treat all their remaining games like cup finals as they desperately needed points to avoid relegation.

“We left everything on this field to win these three points which are vital to us.

“We did not play an attractive game today, but we got the three points. which is very crucial to us, especially in the second half.

“After the 1-0 lead we went into defensive mode completely and we waited on counters.

“We tried to refresh the front line and the sides.

“However we have to understand that the players played three games and it was very difficult for us.

“Especially for our left and right backs. I couldn’t replace them because I had to press on the middle of the park.

“I put  fresh and young players in that position and I am happy with those engagements.

“I am very happy to see the commitment of the players and the fighting spirit.

“I do believe we are going to have the same fighting spirit for the next game, which is the cup final.”

Heric’s worry, though, is substitution.

“I still don’t know all of the players, so I am very afraid to make substitutes and put players in whom I don’t know.

“So it was very difficult for me to make subs and to make the right subs.

“Though in the last game we put the sub in and he scored the winning goal. But that doesn’t mean that will always happen.  

“It’s good for me to also see the new players.

“Game by game I am seeing more and I know them better so hopefully I am going to choose the right people for the final because the final is our life.

“The final is everything we have right now. All of our families and the whole Eastern Cape are for that final so we have to go there and make sure we make these people happy,” he said.

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