|Keenan Lesch @ Backpagepix
Despite the high stakes at play in Saturday’s
Cape Town derby between Chippa United
and Vasco da Gama, Vasco coach Keenin
Lesch is not getting overly worked up.
He said it when the team were struggling
for consistency earlier this season, and
he’s saying it again now after a six match
winning streak (followed by a draw) has
seen his side draw level on points with
Chippa at the top of the table:
there is no pressure and no expectancy
at Vasco. “I said it before, at Vasco we
are all about having fun and enjoying ourselves. I am very fortunate
not to have any pressure from management, and that translates to the players,
said the 32-year-old
former midfielder. “Its like a big family here, everyone plays for each other, and we just go
out on to the park to enjoy ourselves. If the goals come, they come, if they don’t they
don’t, you can’t win every game, but you can have fun every time you play.
“I’m still new at coaching, but so far the philosophy is working for me; there is no need to overcomplicate things or put too much pressure on the players.
“You can see in training this week, we have not done anything different, yes it’s a big
game and derby pride is at stake, but we go out to try and win every match, so nothing
While Vasco have taken 19 of the last available 21, Chippa are also in decent form,
having picked up 13 points from their last six matches, although they did go down
2-0 to FC Cape Town in another local derby last weekend.
It’s a game neither side wants to lose and the match will be certain to provide
the Philippi crowd with some bone-jarring derby thrills and spills.
FC Cape Town are also playing in the Mother City on Saturday, the African Beasts
facing a stern test of their credentials as a team on the rise when they meet a
Jomo Cosmos side that has just claimed back-to-back wins over African Warrior
s and Milano United.
Also on Saturday, Black Leopards host Baroka FC in an eagerly anticipated Limpopo
derby at the newly-opened Makhuvha Stadium, while Maluti FET College welcome
Witbank Spurs to the Charles Mopeli Stadium, neither side having won yet in 2014
, although Maluti have only played one game this year.
Up in Mbombela, Sivutsa Stars (11th) go head-to-head with Santos (5th), the Cape
side needing a win to boost them back into the promotion places, while the hosts
will be wanting to move further away from the relegation zone and closer to the
top eight. The action continues on Sunday with a KZN derby between Thanda Royal Zulu
and Blackburn Rovers, a first since Rovers’ moved from Mthatha. With both clubs
in the relegation zone, this should be another thrilling derby affair for fans to look
forward to this weekend.
The day’s other matches are between United FC and African Warriors, while
Milano United host Roses United in a match shifted to a 16H30 kick off in Wynberg.
Weekend fixtures as follows:
Saturday, January 25, 2014
14:00 FC Cape Town v Jomo Cosmos - Parow Park
15:30 Black Leopards v Baroka FC - Makhuvha Stadium
15:30 Maluti FET College v Witbank Spurs - Charles Mopeli Stadium
15:30 Sivutsa Stars v Santos - Kabokweni Stadium
19:30 Chippa United vVasco Da Gama - Phillipi Stadium
Sunday, January 26, 2014
15:30 Thanda Royal Zulu FC v Blackburn Rovers - Umhlathuze Sports Complex
15:30 United FC v African Warriors - Olympia Stadium
16:30 Milano United AFC v Roses United - Wynberg Military Base