Baroka FC coach Nyirenda continues to believe the battle to avoid relegation still in their own hands

Wedson Nyirenda, head coach of Baroka FC during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 game between Cape Town City and Baroka FC at Cape Town Stadium on 12 January 2019.
Wedson Nyirenda, head coach of Baroka FC during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 game between Cape Town City and Baroka FC at Cape Town Stadium on 12 January 2019.
Image: © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Baroka FC coach Wedson Nyirenda believes the battle to avoid relegation is still in their own hands and Saturday's 3-1 defeat to BidVest Wits has not damped his optimism.

Several sides remain stuck in the relegation quicksand - Baroka‚ Chippa United‚ Maritzburg United‚ Black Leopards and Free State Stars - and their destiny will only be determined on the final day of the season on Saturday.

The 14-placed Baroka lost their last two games against Golden Arrows at home and Wits on Saturday‚ making their clash against a vastly improved but still bottom-placed Maritzburg a must-win.

Maritzburg beat SuperSport United 3-1 at home on Saturday to keep their hopes of surviving alive.

In other matches involving relegation threatened teams‚ Ea Lla Koto will host defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Goble Park‚ Chippa are at home against Kaizer Chiefs in Port Elizabeth and Black Leopards have to beat Cape Town City in Thohoyandou on Saturday to have any chance of avoiding going straight back to the National First Division after their promotion last season.

Nyirenda said he expects the showdown against Maritzburg to be tough but he added that they have to take the fight to their fellow strugglers.

“It’s obvious that our last match will be difficult‚ but we will do our part‚” said Nyirenda‚ who won the Telkom Knockout with Bakgaga in December before their fortunes in the league deteriorated.

“I know that other teams (fellow strugglers) have won and we have not won‚ we just have to take it to the wire.”

Nyirenda said their performance against Wits was shocking for a team fighting relegation as they failed to take advantage after the Clever Boys were reduced to 10-man on the stroke of halftime when their goalkeeper Ricardo Goss was shown the red card for a reckless challenge on their skipper Mduduzi Mdantsane.

“It’s not good the way we played‚ so disappointing but I’m sure we will bounce back (against Maritzburg).

"We have a good team but I think we need some more experience‚” said the former Zambian international who is in his first season as a coach in the PSL.

Nyirenda said he finds it very hard to understand why his team struggled in the later part of the season as they had started well‚ culminating in their TKO final victory over Orlando Pirates in December.

“That is what football can be‚” said Nyirenda.

“I think we became complacent after winning the cup.

"We had it all in our hands but the team couldn’t perform.

"So we performed here and there and the results were not coming… they come‚ they come‚ they don’t come and this where we are now."

Nyirenda agreed with the assertion that they may have put more emphasis on not losing against the big guns in the PSL and ignored the other teams fighting for their status like them.

“That’s a big problem.

"People come with their high tails when playing the big teams and but we have given all the points to the small teams‚” said the Baroka coach.

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