Students up against former coach

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The expected tight cup match between the PSL side, Wits, and the First Division Inland Stream side, Winners Park, will be played on Wednesday at Johannesburg's BidVest Stadium.

Kick off is at 19h30.

Wits have gained seven points from their seven matches played since the restart of the Absa Premiership in February.

As a result, the Students have dropped to sixth position on the log.

It is not that Wits have been playing bad, but results just have not been coming their way, with taking their chances being the main problem.

On Friday, Wits lost 1-0 at home against Ajax Cape Town, despite creating numerous goal-scoring opportunities once again.

Students’ coach Roger de Sa has analysed a few of Winners Park’s recent matches.

“They’re very good going forward,” he concedes.

But De Sa also stresses that “we’ve got to win this match. I see no other option.”

The Wits’ coach, however, is careful not to underestimate the First Division side.

“The match is a cup game and those games are always a bit unpredictable because Winners Park will most certainly raise their game considerably because they are playing a PSL side.”

Goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs was out injured against Ajax and was replaced by Sean Roberts who showed fine form. The Bafana goalkeeper, however, is expected to be back in goal against Park.

“The Winners Park match is an opportunity for us to bounce back from a few disappointing results,” concludes De Sa.

Winners Park lost 1-0 at home against First Division Inland Stream log leaders FC AK on Sunday. The Polokwane based side is fifth in the standings, but they have the same number of points, 25, as second-placed Mpumalanga Black Aces. FC AK has 33 points.

“We’re still in the running to come second at the end of the season, which would mean qualification for the playoffs and that means a chance of achieving promotion to the Absa Premiership,” comments Park’s coach Jacob Sakala, who took over the team in November from Dan Malesela, but will be on the bench following the arrival of Solomons.

On the upcoming Nedbank Cup match against BidVest Wits, the Zambian coach adds: “It will be a tough match against an experienced side. Wits are a force to be reckoned with, but we will be ready to compete.”

Sakala is a bit worried that the cup match can distract his team a bit from their goal to gain second position.

“We’re competing hard for the playoffs,” reacts Sakala, who has coached teams like Black Leopards, Dynamos, Real Rovers and Zulu Royals in the past.

“The Nedbank Cup match might be a bit distracting, but we certainly plan to give Wits a good run for their money. Cup matches are always something special.”

Park has a good goalkeeper in Michael Khabo, who replaced the experienced former Orlando Pirates goalie Makweni Mayala as number one, as well as a strong defender in the Congolese Christian Ombola-A-Nianguengue and a goal-scoring threat in Zambian striker Peter Mutale.

Besides Mayala, the only other player with PSL experience is former Supersport United and Moroka Swallows left-back Rufus Mokoti, who is still trying to regain his former high performance level. Mokoti was out of the game for about 18 months due to various career-threatening injuries.