not five-star

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

New Free State Stars coach Themba Sithole is a hard man to please.

Instead of celebrating their 2-0 win over Maritzburg United in the Telkom Knockout at Charles Mopeli Stadium on Saturday, the man was hopping mad.

"I can't be happy because we did not play well. It was my first official game as coach and I told the players that we had to impress in everything," said Sithole.

"The supporters came here in their numbers and wanted us to entertain them over and above going through to the quarterfinals.

"At the end of the day it is good we won, but there is still a lot of things to be done to turn Stars into a well-oiled machine that will challenge for the honours

"One of the first things we need to work on is to polish our finishing, we should have won the game with an avalanche of goals.

"We have laid a solid foundation with this win," said Sithole, Stars' longest serving employee who joined the club 17 years ago as a player.

Diyo "Jomo" Sibisi, scorer of the two goals in the first and 83rd minutes, said: "It's great to help my team win the match.

"The plan is to do well this season, especially in the league."

Clinton Larsen, United's assistant coach, put the blame squarely on their players for bombing out of the tournament so early.

"We were a bit amateurish, especially with the first goal so early in the game. It's a lesson to our players not to underestimate anybody."

Stars may have won, but they were not impressive, especially in the middle of the park where the absence of suspended captain Duncan Lechesa was glaring.

Also not available due to injuries were Ghanaian international Jonathan Mensah, Christopher Tsotetsi and Bruin Senokoane.

There was drama in the 85th minute when Stars' goalie, Kennedy Mweene collided with United striker Fadlu Davids.

Infield player Ruben Cloete stood between the posts as Stars had already made three changes, with Mweene going out with a suspected head injury.

"The doctors informed us this morning [yesterday] Kennedy was okay. It's a relief," said Rantsi Mokoena, Stars' brand manager.