De Sa hopes Mwila can solve goal-scoring woes at Stars
Basement boys Platinum Stars have shown an improvement in recent matches under coach Roger de Sa‚ but goal-scoring remains a critical issue as they prepare to welcome in-form Bloemfontein Celtic to the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Wednesday.
Stars have managed just five goals in their previous 10 league games this season‚ and if they are to pull themselves out of the relegation zone‚ they have to become more clinical in the opposition box.
De Sa is hoping that a fit again Brian Mwila can boost their chances‚ with the Zambian international striker showing plenty of early promise without yet hitting the back of the net.
The Chipolopolo forward has been a revelation for his country‚ netting twice in a 3-1 win over Algeria and then netting again in the recent international break as Zambia drew 2-2 with Cameroon.
“When I arrived he was injured and it has taken him a while to get going. I would say it is only in the last three weeks that he has been fully fit‚” De Sa tells TimesLIVE.
“He’s a strong‚ burly guy. One good thing he plays to score goals‚ he just wants to score goals‚ he is not there to try and play pretty football.
“He is very focused on making sure he gets into good areas and his eye is only on putting the ball in the back of the net‚ not trying to be fancy and try lots of skills.”
De Sa has been working hard with Mwila to integrate him into the squad and says it is a work in progress.
“Tactically he is OK‚ he has some stuff to learn but will get there and takes on board what we try to teach him.
"Technically‚ he is good but not ‘wow’. But he has great strength and good energy in matches.
“I want to see how quickly he adapts to the South African style‚ I think he is a confidence player‚ so once he gets one goal‚ I think we might see him really start to flourish.
“He has had a couple of near misses so far‚ but not let his head drop‚ which is a good sign.”
De Sa adds that Mwila also has the attributes to emulate other Zambian strikers such as Collins Mbesuma and Chris Katongo‚ who have used the Premier Soccer League as a stepping stone to Europe.
“Overall his mentality is good‚ he has his feet on the ground and he knows where he wants to go‚ which is obviously to Europe‚ but he also realises that it is a process and you need to take it step-by-step.
“But I think he is a guy who could score goals in the PSL and take that step up in the future.”
Celtic have flourished under new coach Veselin Jelusic and find themselves in the top four in the league and into the Telkom Knockout final.
They defeated Stars in Phokeng in the quarterfinals of the cup competition as they came from behind thanks to goals from Lantshane Phalane and Tshegofatso Phalane after Bongi Ntuli had put the home side ahead.
“He has brought stability to the team and that has bred confidence among the players” Celtic CEO Khumbulani Konco said.
“Bar one game where he made six or so changes‚ he has been very consistent with the team selection and that shows in the way the side is performing.
“You can now see the belief in the boys‚ walking around the club they are oozing confidence and that is a big change from recently.”
One change that Jelusic will have to make is to find a replacement for striker Ndumiso Mabena‚ who is injured.