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Free State Stars players know where their bread is buttered: Rantsi Mokoena

By Mark Gleeson | 2016-11-17 16:03:02.0

Free State Stars general manager Rantsi Mokoena has no concerns about his players’ focus for Saturday’s league match against Orlando Pirates as the club look ahead to a Telkom Knockout semifinal appearance later this month.

“No ways‚” was the emphatic answer from the club boss about the possibility that his players’ concentration on the immediate task at hand at Orlando Stadium might be distracted by the impending semifinal clash at Cape Town City on November 26.

“They all know that our bread and butter is the league and there is nothing like the motivation of a match against Pirates. The coach has also made it very clear to the players and we are very much focused on the league.

“We’ve got three tough away games and we need to get some points‚” Mokoena added.

“If we don’t there is a possibility that we go to the semifinal against Cape Town City sitting at the bottom of the league and that is not going to give us the right morale and motivation.

“So we are going for points in out next two games.”

Stars‚ who eliminated cup kings Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom quarterfinals in their last outing‚ are up against Pirates (kickoff: 6pm)‚ then travel to meet Polokwane City next Wednesday.

From there‚ they will be heading to Cape Town for the semifinal at the Athlone Stadium.

Stars sit third from bottom in the Absa Premiership standings and have yet to post a win in the league with five draws from eight games.

“But we are just one or two wins away from a massive jump up the table‚” Mokoena added.

Stars also face the next three months without influential skipper Paulus Masehe‚ who underwent surgery on Thursday on a torn adductor muscle.

“His absence is a huge blow and it is difficult to think of being without him but if I look back there was stage at the club when we couldn’t contemplate what we would do when Duncan Lechesa was no longer in our side. But the sun always comes up the next morning and so it will be without Paulus‚” Mokoena said.

“I’m confident we have some great leadership quality in the team with Katlego Mashego‚ Moeketsi Sekola and Danny Venter all having great experience. [New goalkeeper] Thela Ngobeni has come in nicely as well and is also playing a leadership role.” - TMG Sport