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Baptism of fire for Leopards' Masutha

By unknown | Mar 05, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Black Leopards' stand-in coach Joel Masutha is likely to face a baptism of fire when his troubled side face Moroka Swallows in an Absa Premiership match at Thohoyandou Stadium today at 3.30pm.

Masutha, the side's goalkeeper coach, was appointed to the hot seat after the suspension of head coach Boebie "Mzala" Solomons and his assistant Ramadhan Nsanzwurwimo on Sunday.

Interestingly, Lidoda Duvha spokesman Tshifhiwa "Chief" Thidiela told Sowetan yesterday that their players were in the right frame of mind for today's tough encounter despite the latest developments in their camp.

"The players are ready and raring to go for this match but they are aware that it will be a difficult one," Thidiela said.

"We have to turn the tables sooner rather than later to fight our relegation battle. We will surprise our critics because we will still be in this league next season."

But Leopards will need to produce a ruthless performance if they intend to overcome the powerful Beautiful Birds who beat them 1-0 in the first round.

While many clubs would have preferred to play a troubled and somewhat confused team like Lidoda Duvha, Swallows' general manager Sipho Xulu said it would not be easy to beat Leopards.

"The problems they are experiencing will not be giving us any advantage over them. They can make it difficult for us to beat them," argued Xulu yesterday.

He added: "They have a stand-in coach who will certainly come up with new tactics that can work to their advantage. But we are as desperate for the three points as Leopards and hence we are taking a full-strength squad to Venda."

The Birds fly to the far north inspired by back-to-back 3-1 victories over Bloemfontein Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns in their last two matches.

The hosts have everyone available for the match, bar the suspended midfielder Hlompho Kekana but have Jabulani Maluleke and Robert Ng'ambi.

The Birds' Lefa Tsutsulupa and James Chamanga can add more woes to Leopards.


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