Cape Town - A stoppage-time goal by Zambian Salulani Phiri sealed a 3-1 victory
for Polokwane City over SuperSport United this weekend, and top spot in
the South African Absa Premiership.
It is an unfamiliar position for the club from the north of the
republic, who survived a relegation battle two seasons ago before
surprisingly finishing fifth last term.
Eastern European coaches have worked wonders with a star-less squad
as Slovak Jozef Vukusic was in charge last season and when he
unexpectedly quit, Serb Zlatko Krmpotic took over.
The 61-year-old former Red Star Belgrade defender coached clubs in
the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Botswana and Rwanda before
Krmpotic is a media-shy coach who neatly sidestepped the fact that a team which cost little to assemble are the league leaders.
"We have more depth in the squad now and I am proud that we defeated strong opponents in SuperSport United," he said.
In a team captained by 37-year-old midfielder Jabulani Maluleke, the
best known player internationally is Ghanaian Mohammed Anas.
But when an interview involving the Accra-born forward went viral two years ago, it had nothing to do with football.
After receiving a Premiership man-of-the-match award while playing
for Free State Stars, Anas publicly thanked "his wife and his
girlfriend" for their support.
Amid huge embarrassment, the west African later claimed he was referring to his daughter when he said "girlfriend".
Anas played the entire match against SuperSport in Polokwane, but was
not among the scorers with the other City goals coming from Nicholas
Motloung and Puleng Tlolane.
SuperSport, who lie seventh five points behind the leaders, had
former Zimbabwe defender Onismor Bhasera red-carded when trailing 1-0
just before half-time.
Bidvest Wits, a Johannesburg club who in 2017 were crowned champions
for the first time, 96 years after being formed, are one point behind
Polokwane in second spot.
They edged Orlando Pirates 4-3 in a thriller that was a home fixture
for Wits, but which they staged 570 kilometres from their
5 000-capacity ground.
Absa Premiership officials have barred Wits from hosting Pirates and other
major crowd-pulling clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns for
The switch to Durban was a success, on and off the field, with a
20 000-plus crowd giving Wits a much bigger financial reward than had
they played the match in Johannesburg.
A half-volley from Cole Alexander on 69 minutes, which gave Wits the lead a third time, was the pick of several brilliant goals.