New PSL season: Can Nyirenda deliver on management's mandate to win the league?

30 July 2019 - 17:20 By Nick Said
Baroka FC head coach Wedson Nyirenda will be looking to win another piece of silverware after guiding the modest club to the 2018 Telkom Knockout triumph.
Baroka FC head coach Wedson Nyirenda will be looking to win another piece of silverware after guiding the modest club to the 2018 Telkom Knockout triumph.
Image: © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Coach Wedson Nyirenda will start the campaign with his back against the wall after club chairman Khurishi Mphahlele gave him a tough mandate to win the league title in the coming season.

But what are Baroka's chances realistically?

Prospects

Baroka FC have finished in position 15‚ 14 and 14 in their three seasons in the Absa Premiership and there is nothing to suggest they will improve on that in the coming campaign‚ meaning another relegation battle.

They have kept faith with coach Nyirenda‚ which is an encouraging sign‚ but he will know a good start is needed or the gloss of his Telkom Knockout victory last season will be long gone.

Baroka struggled at home in 2018/19‚ so making the Peter Mokaba Stadium a fortress will be key to any improvement.

Personnel

Baroka have boosted their foreign contingent with the signings of Malawian midfielder Gerald Phiri and his countryman‚ striker Richard Mbulu‚ as well as Liberian forward Terrence Tisdel and Mozambique midfielder Manuel Kambala.

They are the headline arrivals‚ though there is also a return to the top-flight for former Maritzburg United and AmaZulu midfielder Kulegani Madondo.

Baroka have managed to retain their leading performers from last season‚ but could miss the experience of defender Thabiso Semenya‚ who was released.

Playing style

Baroka have a helter-skelter style that sees them play with pace‚ but not always the structure that most top-flight teams have.

They are certainly a side who likes to take risks in attack‚ but having only won 20% of their games last season‚ it is a tactic that needs revision.

Nyirenda has tried to bring in more tactical discipline‚ but it is a work in progress.

Programme

Baroka play three of their first four games at home‚ giving them an excellent chance to get early points on the board and build some momentum.

Cape Town City visit on the opening day of the season on Saturday‚ before a trip to Bidvest Wits.

After that they have back-to-back home clashes against Bloemfontein Celtic and SuperSport United.

The only period in the season where they have a particularly tough run of games comes right at the end when they finish away at Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United‚ before a home game with Kaizer Chiefs to round out the campaign.


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