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Larsen knew Magesi were promotion contenders early on


‘Ten games in,’ said Magesi coach Clinton Larsen, ‘I had a gut feel that this team would be hard to beat this season and the boys proved me right.’

Clinton Larsen, head coach of Magesi FC lifted by players after victory during the Motsepe Foundation Championship 2023/24 match against Milford FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on 5 May 2024. Picture: Brian Rikhotso, BackpagePix

Matshelane Mamabolo

CLINTON LARSEN knew 10 matches into the 2023/24 Motsepe Foundation Championship campaign that he would get Magesi FC promoted to the DStv Premiership.

Speaking deep in the bowels of the old Peter Mokaba Stadium moments after the Crocodiles had won the National First Division league title and earned the right to swim with the sharks of the country’s elite league, Larsen told newshounds that promotion was always the goal.

“It started in the off-season, when we began recruiting,” he said, amid loud celebrations from his players as they filed into the dressing room.

“We head-hunted some players from our direct opposition and that was the key part of why we are here. Ten games in I had a gut feel that this team would be hard to beat this season and the boys proved me right.

“We got a great group of players who bought into, not just my coaching philosophy and my training methodology but the ethos of the team, which is hard work, and to staying humble. I always said I am a small coach, this is a small club, let’s stay humble, let’s work harder than the rest and we can achieve success that way.”

And they did, Magesi securing the Championship title via an unassailable 55 points with two matches to spare. The promotion-clinching match was a 3-1 victory over Milford FC in Polokwane on Sunday.

On reflection, Larsen pointed at their January transfer window activities as being a key contributor to their success.

“Before the Christmas break we identified two key areas that we needed to strengthen. One was up front, support for Wonderboy Makhubu (who scored a brace on Sunday).

“The one was in the midfield due to long-term injury to Katlego Molaba – we needed a No.8 and a more experienced winger, hence we brought in Edmore (Chirambadare – scorer of the other goal). And those three gave us more depth. More than anything else, they made our bench strong.

“Rulani Manzini came and won games for us. Edmore started with a bang with the goals and got us positive results. And Deolin (Mekoa) has been fantastic.

“How a player like that was wasting his time in the ABC (Motsepe League) amazes me. I am happy for all three players, when they came here in January they really made a positive impact in the way that we play and in the results that we started to get.”

A highly experienced coach, Larsen was also full of praise for the club’s management, describing club boss Solly Makhubela as a diligent leader.

“I must be the envy of a lot of coaches because in the 15 months that I have been here, there has never been a single day of interference and that can’t be said of many clubs in the NFD and even in the PSL. The club allowed me to mould the team the way I saw it fit and I must thank Solly and the CEO (John Mathibe) for their diligent leadership.”

Magesi have two more matches to play and while Larsen says they’ll be celebratory, he expects his players to play with the same passion and enthusiasm they have shown in a breakthrough season that now sees them set to play with the country’s big boys.

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