Dan ‘Dance’ Malesela confident Baroka will reach promotional playoffs

15 May 2024 - 12:53
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Baroka FC coach Dan Malesela.
Baroka FC coach Dan Malesela.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

Baroka coach Dan Malesela is confident his players will have the motivation to finish the season on a high by qualifying for the highly unpredictable promotional playoffs. 

The Motsepe Foundation Championship (MFC) has already been won by Magesi FC to earn automatic promotion to the DStv Premiership but fellow Limpopo side Baroka have another chance of returning to the top tier through the playoffs. 

Baroka go into the last match of the MFC season in third spot and equal on 46 points with fourth-placed JDR Stars, while they are two points behind second-placed University of Pretoria (Tuks). 

The second and third-placed MFC sides go into a playoff with the second last-placed Premiership team to decide which one will compete in the top flight. 

Baroka and Tuks face off on Sunday at Tuks Stadium in Pretoria where the winner will be guaranteed a place in the playoffs and the loser may be overtaken by JDR Stars. 

The losers between Tuks and Baroka might still qualify for the playoffs but it will only happen if JDR lose to Maritzburg United by a low score because goal difference may also come into play. 

“The challenge is the mental aspect of the players because there isn’t much you can do at this stage with regards to tactics and all of these things,” Malesela said. 

“We just focus more on the mental aspect, make sure we help the players relax and reduce anxiety. We have to make sure that mentally they are better placed than the opponents.” 

Malesela is confident Baroka will have the legs to compete in the extra matches if they reach the playoffs. 

“We work on trying to save the legs of the boys and that's why we hardly ever find a situation where our boys are down cramping. We try to do all we can in training to say we mustn't overload the players but save them. 

“We make sure we save them to continue playing matches and we also make our recovery a bit easier.” 

Asked to sum up his team's season, Malesela said Baroka let themselves down at crucial stages. 

“It was an uneven season to an extent; there was somewhere we faltered in our quest to challenge for automatic promotion. We dropped too many points unnecessarily at some stage but we redeemed ourselves to be where we are now and that is one thing we appreciate.” 

Malesela has never promoted a team to the PSL. He said it would it would be a “significant [achievement] for me if Baroka is promoted”.

“This club has a good facility that a lot of clubs don’t have and it needs to be put to good use. This facility is primarily for clubs that are in the top tier and we must do justice to it.” 

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