Baroka FC can't drop points against Orlando Pirates - Matsimela

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Thoka Matsimela, Baroka FC, November 2020
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The Limpopo side lost their first match of the season last weekend and will want to get their campaign back on track

Baroka FC coach Thoka Matsimela is not reading into Orlando Pirates’ good Premier Soccer League (PSL) run, declaring that their match against the Soweto giants at Orlando Stadium on Saturday is a “must-win.”

Bakgaka started the season on an impressive note, beating Maritzburg United 2-1 and Black Leopards 3-1, before a 1-1 home draw against Golden Arrows.

But their unbeaten run was halted last weekend when they were edged 1-0 by Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, leaving Matsimela declaring war on Pirates.

“That one is a must-win for us because we cannot manage to drop points. If we do that, we are inviting the other teams down there to come and close the gap,” Matsimela told Sowetan Live.

The Baroka coach’s war cry comes as they face a Pirates side that is yet to taste defeat in all competitions this season.

What could be worrisome for Matsimela is that his team has been conceding goals in every match and their trip to Gauteng coincides with the return from injury of Pirates chief forward Frank Mhango who joins his fellow attackers Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa whose goals sunk SuperSport United last Saturday.

Matsimela however admits that his men were far from being at their best when they allowed Tshakhuma to beat them and claim their first victory of the season.

One of the weaknesses in Baroka’s game is conceding late goals and the coach said they are working on improving their concentration levels ahead of the Pirates tie.

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“We didn’t play well [against Tshakhuma]. I'm not impressed about the performance we dished out,” said Matsimela.

“We tried. It is just that this thing of concentration in the dying minutes is killing us. This is the second game where we lose concentration. If you remember our match against Golden Arrows, we gave away a goal in the last 30 seconds, and we threw away two points.

“We will work on those things but this thing of concentration...we need to work more on it, talk to them, and apply those leadership skills. We learned from this, and we will try to avoid it.”

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