Dladla not getting carried away with Bay's log position

Coach says immediate goal is to reach 36 points

03 December 2021 - 07:30
By Sihle Ndebele
Sipho Dladla, coach of Richards Bay.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix Sipho Dladla, coach of Richards Bay.

Richards Bay may be one of the early pacesetters in the GladAfrica Championship, but coach Sipho Dladla remains on guard against thinking too far ahead.

Bay are second on the log on 25 points, one behind table toppers JDR Stars from 14 outings. Dladla insists their only target for now is 36 points.

“GladAfrica is a very difficult league. If you can read too much into your league position at this stage, you’ll end up failing to achieve your goals. As much as we’re among the teams on top of the log, we’re not thinking too much about that,’’ Dladla told Sowetan yesterday.

“Our eyes are firmly fixed on the teams below us because we know that one mistake, they’ll leapfrog us. At this stage we won’t breathe a sigh of relief until we reach 36 points to guarantee safety. This league can easily humble you if you don’t respect it.”

The 43-year-old Dladla also recalled how losing three games in succession in September created camaraderie in the Natal Rich Boyz camp. The Uthongathi, KwaZulu-Natal-born coach said the newfound unity helped them to put last season’s disappointments behind them.

“There was a time where we suffered three defeats in a row... that was the turning point because that united us like never before. We realised we needed one another.

“The unity helped us to identify our problems. One of our problems was that our players were still psychologically affected by last season’s disappointment of missing promotion by a whisker [they lost in the playoffs],’’ Dladla explained.

“Seventy percent of our players from last season are still here, so it was important to help them deal with that psychological factor that hindered them from performing to their best level. Every one of them is now healed and giving his all this season.’’

Fixtures (all at 3.30pm)

Today: City Rovers v All Stars, Olen Park.

Tomorrow: Uthongathi v Tshakhuma, Princess Magogo Stadium; Bay v AmaTuks, King Zwelithini Stadium; FS Stars v JDR, Goble Park; Venda Academy v Callies, Thohoyandou Stadium; Cosmos v Leopards, Vosloorus Stadium.

Sunday: Polokwane v Lions, Old Peter Mokaba Stadium; Spurs v Sporting, Athlone Stadium.