It’s almost become a norm in South African professional football that when smaller teams come up against the giants of the DStv Premiership like Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns they play like their lives depend on the result, but return to being ordinary against teams of the same standard.
This irks Baroka coach Matsimela Thoka and he says he is always working on fixing the players’ attitudes towards games as he feels they sometimes pick and choose which games they want to excel in.
“I can say yes,” answered Thoka honestly when asked if he feels his team play with more aggression and zest when playing the likes of Chiefs. Bakgaga gave Amakhosi a good run for their money and almost stole the show, but faltered as the game at FNB Stadium on Tuesday afternoon ended 1-1.
“If we were to do some research we would find that there are one or two players who want to (only) give themselves a good game against Chiefs/Pirates/Sundowns.
“That, I don’t like. I always tell the boys that all the teams are the same and all the games are the same, the points are the same too. We need to treat each and every game as it is. If a players wants to play well only against Chiefs then he is not a good player. He is not disciplined enough.”
He said he is doing his best to drill it into the players that there is no game that is more important than others. But it is a hard job, given that some players believe doing well against the bigger and financially well-off teams is a form of self-advertisement.
“The points are the same, so we need to give the same attitude in each game that we play. But yah, we are working on those things. But as you can see, our team is filled with youngsters who can get carried away when we play against Chiefs, and give it their all.
“Then when you go to another game let’s say against Maritzburg or Golden Arrows and you don’t see the same player, and he can’t give the same performance he gave against Chiefs. We hope we will get it right and instil the right mentality and approach for every game,” he said.