by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – NEWLY appointed head coach Lehlohonolo Seema is impressed with the work ethic and confidence displayed by his Chippa United players since he joined recently.
He believes the positive attitude puts the volatile side in good stead to preserve its status when the Absa Premiership relegation dogfight resumes.
Seema is enjoying a change of scenery in Port Elizabeth after joining from Bloemfontein Celtic earlier in July but the honeymoon is concluding as the 2019/20 campaign restarts on August 8 after a four-week hiatus caused by the coronavirus.
“It’s been very exciting times meeting new faces,” he said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
The mentor expressed pleasure at the commitment of the players as the side aims to finish a troubled campaign in a respectable position on the 16-team table.
“It’s a group (team) that is willing to work and that is the first positive thing. We need to work hard as a group,” Seema said.
He also lauded his Chilli Boys for level-headedness.
“We don’t have anyone that thinks he stands out more than other players. So, it’s a good group of players and we can work hard and make sure we do well for the club,” he said.
Another plus for the Lesotho-born coach is the eagerness of the players to start on a clean slate and impress the coach.
This is in contrast to the mood previous coach, Norman Mapeza, found on arrival in October last year. The Zimbabwean bemoaned confidence levels were low after a poor start to the season in August.
Rhulani Mokwena took charge between Mapeza’s and Seema’s stints with his only match in charge a goalless draw against Bidvest Wits in March.
“The guys are willing to learn what we are implementing,” Seema said.
“The confidence is there. As it is said, when a new coach is appointed, every player sighs some fresh air and want to show the coach what they are capable of. They are responding very well. Hopefully, we will get the results that we want.”
The technical team, headed by Mbuyiselo Sambu before Seema joined, has also cordially welcomed him, making it easier for the head coach to settle.
“I have been welcomed with open arms. Sambu and I are working well. I know him well as we did some courses together and we played at the same time. It’s easy for us to work together.”
Another plus is that the side has been lucky on the injuries front, with winger William Thwala the only doubt.
“Other than that, it’s a clean bill of health,” Seema said.
With six games left, Chippa (on 26 points) are placed 12th on the log, six points ahead of bottom-placed Black Leopards and three more than AmaZulu, who occupy a playoff berth at 15th.
However, Chippa are nearer a top-eight spot than they are to the drop.
They have five points less than eighth-placed Highlands Park.
Seema maintains the objective, shared with the chairman Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi, is to preserve their status in the elite league and mount a more formidable challenge next season.
“We just have to work hard and preserve our status so that we can start afresh next season. Within this short period of time, we have to ensure we remain in the league and avoid relegation or the playoffs,” he concluded.
– CAJ News