Why Mabedi is relishing the prospect of facing former Chiefs coach Ertugral
Kaizer Chiefs caretaker coach Patrick Mabedi is relishing the prospect of facing former coach Muhsin Ertugral when Ajax Cape Town host Amakhosi in the final round of the Absa Premiership on May 12.
Mabedi believes that the match is critical for Chiefs if they are to finish third place on the log and compete in the CAF Confederation Cup next year.
Ertugral‚ on the other hand‚ is fighting to save Ajax from the possibility of playing in the relegation/promotion play-off against two First Division teams.
“I learnt a lot from Mushin but come the day of the match it will be a different ball game.
'It’s not going to be easy to face him‚” said the former Malawian international who led Chiefs to his first victory (2-0) against Maritzburg United at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Mabedi was given the reigns to complete the three league matches after the sudden resignation of former coach Steve Komphela last week.
Chiefs fans ran riot after after their 2-0 defeat to Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup semi-final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban last Saturday.
“As you know we are also desperate to finish on the third spot‚ so our match against Ajax will be massive. We just need to go out there and do our best‚".
“We know they are also fighting for their lives in the relegation zone which is more pressure on them.
“We are also under pressure but we’ll do our best‚” said Mabedi‚ who worked with Ertugral in his first and most successful spell at Chiefs between 1999 and 2003.
Mabedi played over 200 official matches between 1998 and 2006 as captain and central defender for Chiefs and together with Ertugral won a number of trophies with the Glamour Boys‚ including the African Cup Winners (now Confed Cup) in 2001.
On their win on Saturday‚ Mabedi thanked the players for following his instruction which he said was not an easy task given the limited he’s had as a caretaker coach.
“I thought the players managed to stick to our plans and I’m happy because they executed them so well‚” he said.
Mabedi said he’s getting used to leading the team in the dugout after a Komphela spell that ended in chaos with no trophies in three years – a record time for Chiefs without a major trophy.
“If you are the assistant coach you must stand ready because the head can get sick or anything can happen and you must be ready to step in‚" he said.
Mabedi also highlighted the input of the chairman of the club Kaizer Motaung who gave the team a pep talk before taking the field against Maritzburg.
He reportedly urged the team to get a result that would make the supporters happy after an unhappy journey to Durban where they were beaten by Stars in the Cup and Golden Arrows (3-1) in the league last Wednesday.
“The chairman always comes to support the team and he’s got passion for the game‚” said Mabedi‚ who discarded Komphela’s much-loved 3-5-2 system for the 4-4-2 formation on Saturday.
“In modern football‚ sometimes the formation you use depends on your opponents‚” said Mabedi.
“We had a plan and we had to change because we thought that maybe if we play 4-4-2 it’s going to help us. And indeed it worked for us.”