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Leopards won’t let it slip

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“We are not going to freeze or choke like we have done in previous seasons,” Masutha said. “We will tackle them (Cosmos and Stars) head on. It doesn’t matter where we play. My players know that we go for a win everywhere we play.”

UNDER CONTROL: Joel Masutha, coach of Black Leopards, says that his team are out to win the PSL play-offs and they know exactly what they need to do to achieve this feat.

BLACK Leopards’ coach Joel Masutha issued a strong message to the people who think that Lidoda Duvha will blow their advantage in the play-offs like they have done in the past.

The Limpopo side are in pole position in the three-team mini league at the halfway mark with everyone – Leopards, Jomo Cosmos and Platinum Stars – having played two games.

Leopards are on four points, Cosmos sit on two points and Dikwena have just one point. Lidoda Duvha are in a commanding position to return to the Premier Division after a five-year absence.

But they have been here before.

Three years ago they started the play-offs with a win over Ezenkosi and went on to finish behind Cosmos who won the tournament. Leopards have failed to gain promotion from the last three play-offs they have been involved in.

“We are not going to freeze or choke like we have done in previous seasons,” Masutha said. “We will tackle them (Cosmos and Stars) head on. It doesn’t matter where we play. My players know that we go for a win everywhere we play.”

Leopards visit Dikwena tomorrow at Moruleng Stadium in their second last game before ending the campaign against Cosmos in Thohoyandou on Wednesday next week.

It’s up to Leopards to ensure that that day is a party in Thohoyandou with Lidoda Duvha confirming their return to the elite league and not another sombre moment of yet again failing at this stage. Masutha has tasted the sweet success of gaining promotion with Leopards as a player and an assistant coach.

He has also experienced the disappointment of losing in the play-offs with the side, which is why he isn’t getting carried away with their lead.

“Four points is not the same as six,” Masutha said. “We dropped two points against Jomo Cosmos because we don’t care where we play. Wherever we go, we go for maximum points. We’re a little bit disappointed by the (2-2) draw with Cosmos (at Vosloorus Stadium on Sunday).

“We have to win the next two games. If we do that, we will be home and dry. We don’t need to do much but get those wins to ensure that we are promoted. We will go all out in these two games.

“It’s all in our hands.”

Lidoda Duvha’s biggest challenge in these play-offs will come from Ezenkosi and not Dikwena, who finished 15th in the Premier Division. Stars have failed to make the most of their second chance, losing to Leopards in the opening round and drawing with Ezenkosi in Moruleng on Wednesday. They have put up a meek fight which is why they will be condemned to the first division.

Cosmos have won every one of the play-offs they have been involved in.

“Cosmos have experience in the play-offs,” Masutha said. “In their last participation they started with a loss against us three years ago and they managed to bounce back to win the play-offs and gain promotion.

“We all have equal chances of winning these play-offs. Yes we have four points, but we would have preferred to be on six points.

“But it’s OK. It’s important not to lose points away. I know that everyone, when they play at home, they come with their tails up.

“We are prepared for that but we know what we want and that’s to go back to the PSL.”