The reality of that at any given time is that any five teams can be in our position. We might not be out of the woods yet, but we also cannot be written off as a relegated side despite our unfavorable position on the PSL log.
Despite recording a much-needed victory against Bloemfontein Celtic in what proved to be a mouthwatering derby, Free State Stars head coach Nikola Kavazovic says his team is not yet out of the woods.
Speaking candidly at a press conference, Kavazovic said while the three points were much welcomed, they were a drop in the ocean, taking into the account the work that still needs to be done by the Bethlehem outfit if they are to survive relegation.
In what could have easily ended in a draw, the outspoken coach believed his troops still had what it takes to once again go over the storm. It also goes without saying that Free State Stars do not having the best players in the league,
Currently seated at 15th on the log, bagging 18 points from 20 games, Kavazovic said any other five teams could easily occupy their undesirable spot.
Maritzburg United, who were credited by the Serbian coach for their excellent transitional football, are rooted at the bottom of the log with 11 points after 21 games. Chippa United are 14th having secured 17 points from the 21 games, while Black Leopards are 13th after salvaging 18 points from the 20 games they have played so far. Baroka FC have also registered 18 points from 21 encounters.
“Any of the five teams can be where we are today. Some of them are too comfortable and think they are out of the woods yet. The truth is, in the next few games, other teams will be where we are today. Mark my words, this is going to happen because some of the teams are too relaxed,” noted Kavazovic.
Next on the card for Kavazovic is Black Leopard at home and the task is getting maximum points against a defensive team that is highly likely to travel all the way to Bethlehem with a draw in mind.
“If we collect three points against them it’s a game changer for us and this is exactly what we need.”
For Stars fans and management, escaping the axe is a priority. But for coach Kavazovic, surving while playing beautiful football is equally as important. The Serbian says he wanted to play attractive and stylish football when he arrived to take over at Stars but has learnt quickly that there is no substitute for results.
He won for only the second time in six games in charge since replacing Luc Eymael as Stars overcame provincial rivals Bloemfontein Celtic 3-2 over the weekend.
“I’ve have been over-analysing since I arrived in the PSL‚” he said. “I tried to apply some nice football when I arrived‚ football that people would enjoy watching. But the results didn’t come.”
Kavazovic said he slowly realised playing well does not necessarily translate into points‚ insisting his side had done well despite recent defeats to the likes of Cape Town City and Chippa United.
“I’ve learnt in my two and a half months in the PSL that no one pays attention if you are playing beautiful football. And‚ when you lose you are getting yourself into serious trouble. I’ve learnt that at the end of the day‚ it’s all about the three points,” he noted.
Kavazovic said he made drastic changes to his side’s approach for the derby in Bloemfontein‚ where Stars played on the counter-attack to devastating effect. Against Leopards, the coach said they will apply a similar approach to ensure similar results and he remains adamant that this is possible.
Influencial player Sinethemba Jantjie, who is expected to don Bidvest Wits jersey next season will once again be in action against Leopards.
“Goals and good defence win games and this is what will be looking to do when we host Leopards,” he added.
The match against Stars is due to played on March 2 at 18:00 at Gobles Park.