Stoichkov stoic even in defeat

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Hristo Stoichkov might have been more diplomatic than some of his predecessors but his message was clear - there will have to be a lot of fine-tuning at Chloorkop.

Stoichkov's close ties with his former employers, Barcelona, have given birth to speculation he might recreate the Catalan at Downs. But whether that materialises, we'll have to wait and see.

Having watched his new team lose against Platinum Stars on Saturday, the Bulgarian warned that the road ahead will be rocky and long.

The Brazilians went down 2-0 to The Tycoons in the semifinals of the Telkom Charity Cup in Rustenburg.

Said Stoichkov: "I have seen that the players keep their shape and position only in the first 20 minutes, and after that, it just breaks down and defenders are out there by themselves and the attackers are also isolated.

"This creates too much space in the midfield, but with every single day I learn and understand. It is a war each day. I am very proud of the players and believe in them and, though we have lost today, we are now looking to the front and to the beginning of the league."

Stoichkov also cleared the air on why he choose to come to South Africa.

"With the World Cup coming, this is a good place to be," he said.

"I have had the opportunity of learning about South African players abroad, having spent a lot of years in football.

"They have a good mentality and work ethic."