Embattled AmaZulu coach Josef Vukusic adamant his job is not on the line

“I would have liked to have had three or four more points and if that was the case you’ll not give me that question (about his future)"

Josef Vukusic cuts a frustrated figure in his technical area during their first match of 2020 in teh 3-0 Absa Premiership loss to champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Josef Vukusic cuts a frustrated figure in his technical area during their first match of 2020 in teh 3-0 Absa Premiership loss to champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Basement dwellers AmaZulu have not won a game in 2020 but coach Josef Vukusic is confident that his job is not on the line.

The relegation-threatened KwaZulu-Natal side have managed to pick up just one point from a possible 15 in their last five Absa Premiership matches and they have not won a game since their 2-1 away victory against Bloemfontein Celtic last year.

Usuthu slumped to another setback at the weekend in the 1-0 defeat to Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday and Vukusic  insisted that he can’t be blamed for the team’s woes as the rot started long before he arrived.

“If you take those five games, why only take those five games?

"We’ve had 15 games (since he replaced Cavin Johnson),” was Vukusic’s answer when asked if he feared losing his job following the bad run.

“Yes this year we didn’t have a good start in the league, it’s true.

"We’ve had similar games like (Saturday's) match where the performance was okay but the result not.

“So ja, this is the situation but I don’t feel that I’m alone in that battle (relegation).

"The management, the technical team and the players are responding.

“We’re doing good work and now we’re not having a good period.

"But still, we can build up and now we have 10 games (left).”

Vukusic added that AmaZulu are not about five games and they’ll look to rescue themselves from the looming relegation in their remaining 10 league matches.

The coach said when he replaced Johnson the club’s situation was as dire as it is now.

“I came into the team in a situation when they had two points (from the first five matches), now we have 17," he said.

“I would have liked to have had three or four more points and if that was the case you’ll not give me that question (about his future).

“But this is football. What I’m happy about is how we work. We rebuild the team and we changed some players and some positions.

“Even now we brought two players (Siphelele Magubane and Milos Lacny) that will help us.

“So we’re ready for that final (10 matches). From the first day when I came here I told the management and they told me as well that we’re together I’m not alone.

“Yes we’ll try everything to move away from that situation as soon as possible. But my experience tells me that in this tough league this season it can (the fight against relegation) be until the last round.”

Vukusic said the unity in the team will be key in the remaining matches if they’re to escape the relegation quicksand, a dangerous situation AmaZulu have flirted  with regularly since the launch of the Premier Soccer League in 1996.

“We must take it like it is and support each other, trust each other. I can say that after (Saturday's) game the people (management) thanked the players for the performance,” said the AmaZulu coach.

“Of course we’re not happy; we’re disappointed we lost the game. But AmaZulu is not about five games.

“AmaZulu is a very nice club and there’s lot of work, and I’m involved in that. Of course the first team is the priority and we must survive relegation and I believe we’ll survive.

“I must speak like that way because now is the situation but I know what is in front of us, which games, which opponents.

“I deal with that and I don’t spend one second thinking about the direction (of being sacked) that you want to take me to.

“Believe me I deal with the players and there are many things (factors contributing to their slump).“It’s not the time now, but there are many things.

"We don’t have a real home ground this season, so we’re dealing with that to build that connection from the development to the first team.

“Today we finished the game with I think four or five players who are 19, 20 and 21.

"There’s (Sibusiso) Mabiliso, (Samuel) Darpoh, (Sphesihle) Maduna, (Sibusiso) Magaqa, so everything is in process.

“Okay if you take five games it’s like that (it’s terrible).

“But I can remember that we won three games in a row and it would be nice to win all, but this is soccer and like I said, AmaZulu are strong and it will work.”


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