Malesela claps back at McCarthy on Sisa Dukashe pitch: ‘It’s as flat as you can get’

Sazi Hadebe Sports reporter
Dan Malesela has set his eyes on a top eight finish despite his struggles with Chippa United on the results front.
Dan Malesela has set his eyes on a top eight finish despite his struggles with Chippa United on the results front.
Image: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Chippa United coach Dan Malesela has defended East London’s Sisa Dukashe pitch in East London that AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy complained about after Wednesday’s 1-0 DStv Premiership win to Usuthu on Wednesday.

“I don’t know about that‚” Malesela said‚ asked abut McCarthy’s comments in his pre-match press conference to Chippa’s Nedbank Cup quarter-final against GladAfrica Championship Richards Bay at Sisa Dukashe on Saturday.

“Sisa [Dukashe] I don’t think there’s much that’s wrong with that pitch. I would be the first one to raise my hand and say we can’t play here but it’s as flat as you can get.

“When we played [Golden] Arrows at Moses Mabhida [Stadium‚ in Durban] it was in a terrible state. I don’t know [about Sisa Dukashe] – that’s Benni’s opinion but for me the field was okay.

“I wouldn’t want to make excuses about the pitch because for me it’s okay.”

McCarthy had suggested in his post-match comments that Chippa took the game to Sisa Dukashe‚ rather than the world Cup Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium because they knew AmaZulu were an in-form‚ ball-playing team.

“But Chippa knew – playing us in PE‚ a World Cup Stadium‚ nice football pitch‚ it’s going to be a different outcome‚” the AmaZulu coach had said.

“Bringing us here to East London in the middle of nowhere‚ they might have a chance.”

Malesela continue that he will not assign any player to pay special attention to certain stars against Richards Bay‚ the dangerous giant-killers of Kaizer Chiefs in the previous round.

Having seen their dangerous players – who include Khanyiso Mayo‚ Victor Bakar and Paseka Sekese – excelling against Chiefs and TS Sporting in the previous rounds‚ Malesela was asked if he’ll have them marked.

“We won’t be looking at the individuals but at this team holistically‚” he said.

“If you start doing that then you might as well go and coach them. I need to stick to us coaching Chippa United and really focusing at what we can do and what the opponents throw at us and what we can dish out as well.

“So we need to really focus on ourselves more than we do on the opponents. But‚ having said‚ you don’t approach every game without looking at who’s playing‚ you approach every game with respect.

“You must say this team is not here because they were done favours but it’s here because they played and did well.

“They beat Kaizer Chiefs and so there’s something‚ and they beat their fellow [first] division team.”