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‘You are playing for your children’s school fees,’ Baroka coach tells players

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Baroka stand-in coach Vincent Kobola has told his players he wants nothing less than three points against SuperSport United.
Baroka stand-in coach Vincent Kobola has told his players he wants nothing less than three points against SuperSport United.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Baroka stand-in coach Vincent Kobola has reminded his players that they are “playing for their children’s school fees” as they approach the decisive end of the DStv Premiership over the next two weekends.

Bottom-of-the-log Baroka approach their last two matches against SuperSport United and Maritzburg United staring down the barrel of relegation to the GladAfrica Championship.

Their survival mission starts with a clash against SuperSport at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday where Kobola said only a win will keep their hopes of survival alive.

“They know that they are playing for their contracts and for the lives,” said Kobola, who took over recently after Kgoloko Thobejane was demoted to the Baroka reserve team.

“Some of them are left with only two months to earn a salary and they have families to look after and they have children in school. When a child is taken out of school, you must explain as a father and take responsibility.”

Kobola said circumstances are difficult because most of Baroka's players are young.

“Most of the boys have also never been in this situation before, so sometimes they panic and are scared. When you look at them, sometimes you can see that they are scared but we are helping them as much as we can.”

Baroka go into their last two games with their fate out of their hands. Kobola said they are keeping the faith that fellow strugglers TS Galaxy and Swallows FC will drop points.

“For me to take this responsibility, I wanted to help the team because I have been here the entire season,” he added. “It was better for me to take over, unlike getting someone new who was going to need time to adjust and know the players. We must just make sure that we win our remaining two games and hope that results of other teams favour us.

“Everyone knows the situation we are in — whatever happened in the match against Chippa United, where we conceded the equaliser in the dying minutes, is behind us now.

“If we think too much about it, it will be disruptive to our preparations for the match against SuperSport United. We just had to motivate the players again and remind them that our mission remains the same — and it is to save this club.

“The players understand that they let themselves down against Chippa and they can’t let it happen again.”

In other matches on Saturday (all 3pm) that will have a bearing on which team will suffer automatic relegation Swallows take on Chippa at Dobsonville Stadium while TS Galaxy are at home to Marumo Gallants in Nelspruit.