Home competition discipline Promotion beckons with Larsen’s Magesi miracle almost complete

Promotion beckons with Larsen’s Magesi miracle almost complete

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Clinton Larsen and his boys essentially need six points, dependent on AmaTuks winning their matches, to secure promotion.

Clinton Larsen, coach of Magesi FC. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Matshelane Mamabolo

THE uninformed would probably not believe that Magesi FC were in the throes of relegation when Clinton Larsen took over midway through last season.

After all, it is unusual for a team that barely survived the chop the season before to be topping the Motsepe Foundation League table five matches away from the end of the following campaign, right?

Yet such are the rewards of a well-laid plan executed to perfection.

“It’s by no chance that we are doing as well as we are,” Larsen said of their impending promotion to the elite league. “You’ll remember that when I joined the team, it was in trouble, fighting to move away from relegation.

“After we survived, there was a huge effort by everyone to put in the right structures and management allowed me to mould the team as I saw fit. Management was very supportive of me and I found that very refreshing.”

Larsen is a well-travelled coach who has been in charge of numerous clubs in both the top and second tiers of the country’s PSL, so to hear him praise his current bosses that way speaks volumes for owner Solly Makhubela’s management style.

“They had only played for two seasons so they were not necessarily experienced and thus a lot fell on my shoulders in terms of recruitment. But they were very supportive and have been working as a team.”

The results have been incredible, Magezi is currently topping the table with 49 points – five more than second-placed University of Pretoria, whom they beat last weekend.

Larsen and his boys essentially need six points, dependent on AmaTuks winning their matches, to secure promotion.

“Beating Tuks has put us in a very strong position. We have put five points between us and them. Plus we have a better goal difference that acts as another point. We have put ourselves in a strong position (for promotion). It’s in our hands now. We don’t have to rely on other teams.”

There is no risk of the excitement of elite league football causing the team to stumble at the final hurdle, Larsen says.

“We believe we can do it. Everybody is grounded. Everybody is humble.

“We are a hard-working team so it is not difficult for me to keep everybody focused on the goal. And I see it in my players’ eyes at training every day. They want this very much and they will not get carried away and spoil it.”

Next up for Magesi, is a home clash against Maritzburg United at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday. It is a potential banana skin on the road to glory. But Larsen is not overly concerned.

“I am confident that (with) what I see every day and every week, the team will continue to do well. We have not lost since the first week of December and we are unbeaten in 11 matches.

“Maritzburg is another difficult game, like the ones against Hungry Lions and Tuks. They (Maritzburg) are a team with a rich history and they have quality players. We are expecting a difficult game. But we beat them away from home in the first round so we are confident we can do it again.”

After Maritzburg, Magezi will be left with clashes against Platinum City Rovers (away), Milford (home), Casric Stars (away) and Venda (home).

Beat Maritzburg at the weekend and those matches could well be merely academic should Tuks lose away to Venda on the same day.

Such has been the turnaround in fortunes for the Polokwane-based club that could well have been relegated last season.

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