'They disrespect people‚' says Thobejane about his critics

Baroka FC head coach Kgoloko Thobejane during 2017 Telkom Knockout Baroka FC press conference at PSL Offices in Parktown ,Johannesburg South Africa on 02 November 2017.
Baroka FC head coach Kgoloko Thobejane during 2017 Telkom Knockout Baroka FC press conference at PSL Offices in Parktown ,Johannesburg South Africa on 02 November 2017.
Image: Aubrey Kgakatsi /BackpagePix

Baroka FC coach Kgoloko Thobejane has reiterated his belief that his side can win the Absa Premiership this year and says he doesn’t understand the mentality of those who doubt his team’s ability.

Baroka played to a 1-1 draw at Cape Town City on Tuesday night in a game in which they had enough chances to win‚ and ultimately gained a good away point.

Thobejane is often mocked for his confident statements about his team and himself‚ just a few weeks ago he was quoted as saying he believed he was best coach in the Premier Soccer League‚ but says he does not understand why people are so negative towards him.

“This thing of negative attitudes towards other people …” Thobejane says.

“I don’t understand it. Even if I don’t know you‚ I will support you in what you are doing and not turn around and say‚ ‘this one is useless’.

“I would say‚ ‘even if he is struggling‚ he is trying his best‚ and I will support him’.

“But unfortunately most people in this world‚ how can I put it‚ they disrespect people‚ they take them as having very little [ability] for no reason.

“Like in football‚ I don’t have those papers [licenses] that others people have.

"Initially I said‚ whether the world likes it or not‚ I don’t want to go for papers‚ I know in myself that I understand football and I don’t fear anyone‚ big or small.

“I will teach football‚ talk football‚ whether you like it or not‚ whether you think I am mad or I am dreaming‚ don't try to stop me‚ just take it like that.

“People look at you if you don’t have these things [licenses] and they say‚ ‘we prefer others’‚ but to me we are all equal.”

Thobejane added that one of the secrets of his success in leading Baroka to the top of the Absa Premiership a third of the way through the season has been the environment he creates in the squad‚ and that he is his own man with clear ideas on how he wants the team to play.

“Football is a gift from God‚ no-one can take it from you‚” he says.

“I just watch and listen every time my players are playing.

"Don’t come to try and influence me to say I must do this or that.

"That’s why‚ in whatever case‚ whether my player is doing bad or good‚ I will always support him and come to his rescue.

“I will say to him‚ ‘my boy‚ it is not the end of the world‚ this is football. Even if you are [Cristiano] Ronaldo or [Lionel] Messi‚ sometimes you will miss a goal. Just learn from it and accept it.”

Thobejane says he wants his team to play with freedom but admits they are prone to playing within themselves.

“Even the players‚ I find many of them are afraid to actually play football. Sometimes they are afraid to have the ball‚ they are afraid to try and dribble‚ to take it and score.

“But they need to experience that [the good and the bad]. We just have to play football.

“Most of the time‚ people play [according] to the opponents. But me‚ I never do that. I play football‚ this is why I spend so much time with my players‚ with their strengths‚ with their weaknesses‚ trying to motivate and encourage.”

Baroka are next in action at home to Platinum Stars on Sunday.

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