Duo asked to bolster Stars

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

After Owen da Gama's shock defection to Orlando Pirates last week, Platinum Stars have tasked their two acting coaches, Allan Prins and Perry Mutapa, with retaining the Telkom Knockout and taking the team forward.

The two, who assisted the overachieving Da Gama, said they were aware of the challenges facing them and were equal to the task ahead.

Prins, who has been with The Tycoons for seven years, said the journey for his team starts with the Telkom Knockout quarterfinal match against AmaZulu on Saturday.

Though Da Gama was credited with steering the team to victory in the Telkom Knockout final last year, Prins maintains that the most important factor in Stars' favour is that the team is still there, and players are still the ones who have to play.

"The challenge could not have come at a better time for us because we are the champions of this cup," Prins said.

"For us, it is business as usual and AmaZulu are our first hurdle. Perry and I have started to prepare for that game and that is all that matters now."

Prins was unwilling to be drawn into discussing future performance targets in the league, but the word is that they have to ensure that their performance does not slip. Stars were runners-up last season.

The two coaches have also been told to ensure that the players stay motivated.

"I have been here for many years and have worked with most of the players, starting from development," Prins said.

"Even when Owen was still here I still played a role that has now convinced the management that I am capable of handling myself in this position."

Team manager Thamaga Mokgopi dismissed suggestions that with Da Gama's departure, other teams will start sensing frailty in the team once known as the "Lions of the North" because of their fearlessness.

"We dare them to go ahead and underestimate us!" he warned.