Baroka coach Thoka asks his players to remain grounded after dream start to the season

28 October 2020 - 13:18 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Matsimela Thoka, assistant coach of Baroka FC, during the Absa Premiership match between Baroka FC and Stellenbosch FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium on December 21 2019 in Polokwane. Thoka is in charge of the team due to the suspension of coach Dylan Kerr.
Matsimela Thoka, assistant coach of Baroka FC, during the Absa Premiership match between Baroka FC and Stellenbosch FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium on December 21 2019 in Polokwane. Thoka is in charge of the team due to the suspension of coach Dylan Kerr.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

Baroka FC caretaker coach Matsimela Thoka has asked his players to remain grounded after their promising start to the league campaign.

The Limpopo side have had a dream start to the season after beating Maritzburg United 2-1 last weekend and following it up with a 3-1 win over Black Leopards in a provincial derby on Tuesday night to move to the top of the standings.

But they could be overtaken at the top on goal difference by Mamelodi Sundowns or Supersport United, who are up against rookies Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) at Loftus and Golden Arrows respectively on Wednesday night.

“The season is long‚ we have only won two matches and not the league‚" said Thoka, who is in charge of the team due to the suspension of coach Dylan Kerr.

“We have discussed this issue with the players and they fully understand that this is a marathon. We don’t want anyone to get carried away by these two wins‚ which are important‚ but we haven’t won anything if you look at the bigger picture.

"There are still 28 games to be played in the season and it is not going to be easy in the coming months.

“We must take it one game at a time and make sure that we keep on correcting mistakes. We don’t want players to be big headed because reality says that we are going to drop points as we go along. It is important for players to thoroughly understand that the season is going to end after 30 matches.”

Baroka have scored five goals and conceded only twice in their opening two matches‚ including an own goal.

“I am happy that we have scored five goals after two matches and we have conceded only two because it shows that there is change and improvement in what we are doing.

"I am particularly happy for Richard Mbulu, because he has been with us for two seasons without scoring and now he has scored three goals after two matches.

“I think against Black Leopards he should have scored four goals alone because there were many opportunities which he squandered. I think he is becoming free and confident and he is showing us what type of player he is. Maybe his time has arrived.”

Last season Baroka survived the promotion and relegation play-offs by the skin of their teeth and Thoka said they have worked on the players' confidence.

“One of the important things we have worked on is to show the players that we trust them and we have a culture of congratulating and rewarding those who do good things at training and during matches to do more.

"We have also spent a lot of time working on weaknesses of the players because we want them to improve all the time, but we focus more on motivating them and making them believe in themselves more.”


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