Johannesburg - The return of Joel Masutha to Black Leopards has coincided with the team’s return to form.
Masutha rejoined Lidoda Duvha late last year from neighbours Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and has helped to steer the club to a spot in the play-offs in the National First Division (NFD).
Leopards were second on the log before this weekend’s fixtures, and that’s where they’ll want to end the season.
With Highlands Park almost home and dry and ready to take the NFD title, Leopards are gunning to once again to finish in the play-offs.
Only two sides – second and third – in the NFD qualify for the three team play-offs for a position in the Absa Premiership.
Masutha said his chemistry with the players was the reason for their revival. Leopards have clawed their way back into play-offs contention after finding themselves at the wrong end of the table in the first half of the season.
But Masutha said they had not won anything until their play-offs spot was secured, adding that there wouldn’t be any room for mistakes in their remaining six games.
But he believes their fate is in their own hands.
“We have gone six games unbeaten so far and we should be able to continue our good form,” he said ahead of today’s encounter against Stellenbosch at home in Thohoyandou.
“For us, this is the game of the season. We know some clubs might drop points, and we have to make sure we open a gap and get a breather.”
He said he was concerned about complacency among the players after their good run.
“So far so good for us, but we cannot relax because the job is not done yet. There is still a lot of football left and anything can happen in football, but I believe we can go further and continue with our unbeaten run.”
He said they would always regard their next game as the most important one.
“We take it one game at a time and do not think ahead of ourselves. The good thing is that I have been with these boys for a long time and I know how to bring out their best,” said Masutha.
“I have known most of these boys since the age of 14, and I know their strengths and weaknesses. There’s a chemistry between us.”
He regards their remaining six matches as cup finals and says they have to win all of them.