Leopards coach Alan Clark determined to help troubled club preserve Premiership status
Black Leopards coach Alan Clark is determined to save the troubled club from the ignominy of relegation and working around the clock to get the team ready for the restart of the season next month.
The Premier Soccer League's (PSL) board of governors met in a virtual meeting on Monday and decided to resume the Absa Premiership and GladAfrica Championship seasons on August 8 and conclude on September 5.
The season will resume with the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup on August 8 and and the league programme will start on August 11.
When the season was suspended almost five months ago due to Covid-19‚ Leopards were languishing at the foot of the table and three points adrift of second from the bottom AmaZulu with six matches remaining.
Clark said the club must be saved at all costs.
“We have to save the team‚ we don’t want the team to go down‚” said Clark who will be faced with a mountain to climb.
“I have said it before that we are confident and we don’t deserve to be where we are at the moment to be honest‚ but we have to pull ourselves out of there.
"If I have a look where we are as a team currently in our training programme and development since the lockdown‚ I think we are looking good.
“The guys are hungry‚ the guys are showing a lot of determination and what has been good is that we have said we want an opportunity to show people that we don’t deserve to be where we are.
"That is all we want and if we get that opportunity we need to take it‚ it’s up to us.”
With matches set to be played in a ‘bio-bubble’ in Johannesburg‚ Clark said they are going to miss the lively atmosphere at Thohoyandou Stadium in Venda.
“We have three home and three away games‚ so it is evenly balanced‚" he said.
"But we would have enjoyed the home crowd in Thohoyandou because I don’t know anybody who gets the same atmosphere at their home ground.
"We will miss that but on the other hand we get the benefit of playing at a neutral venue while we could have been playing away from home.
"So‚ you take the good with the bad‚ with one hand you lose and the other you win.”
Most coaches have voiced concerns that their players will not be fully fit when the season resumes and Clark echoed their sentiments.
“We have to be ready‚ there isn’t a choice‚ the situation is that we must be ready. Would we have enjoyed more time‚ yes of course.
"The amount of time out is too excessive and you don’t generally get this amount of time out in football. But it is a new situation and we have to adapt.”