DoRego's Revolving Blog
30 November 2012
We’re here with Platinum Stars striker, Henrico Botes, who recently helped his club bring Kaizer Chiefs unbeaten run to an end…
Obviously Kaizer Chiefs are a powerhouse in South Africa, they were untouchable at the start of the season. They’re so swift on the counterattack and we took note of that. We always tried to starve them of possession. You see, when you play the big teams, there’s always space. We always try to get an early goal because whenever we score first, we go on to win our games. In the middle they’re quite strong, we know that, then there’s Itumeleng Khune’s (excellent) distribution. What we tried to do was play a more compact game, to move myself upfront and have Benson at the back moving as well. We wanted to create a limited space of maybe 40 yards and then try to move together as a block. When I go forward, they push up five metres. When they drop, I come back five. We forced them not to have space between us because that’s where ‘Shabba’ (Siphiwe Tshabalala) comes in and creates havoc.
I think they missed ‘Yeye’ (Reneilwe Letsholonyane) quite a lot, he really is something else! Look, our tactics on the day worked out and we were ecstatic, but that’s all gone now. I think maybe that’s how to beat Chiefs. Beating them doesn’t mean the league is over, we’ve got another tough game against Maritzburg United next Tuesday. We have to keep our feet on the ground and grind out some more results.
Coach Cavin Johnson is known for playing great football. He always emphasises we must give the fans something to look at. I think the tactical awareness and work they do analysing the opposition, has worked well for us in all the games. I think the spirit is good. We’ve got myself, Benson Mhlongo, Patrick Malokase and a few other older guys. I think we’ve got some good younger guys as well – Siphelele Mthembu is another one up front. I think that’s why the spirit is quite nice in the team. I’ve been here a long time, you know, seeing the team finish down there in 12th, 13th or 14th place isn’t nice. There’s different scenery in the air up there (higher up the table), it makes you feel good. Ha, ha!
We’ve got a nice balance, we’ve even got a guy like Vuyo, who has been around for a long time. He isn’t even that old but he has been playing for what seems like forever. He’s only 28 and he played against Shaun Bartlett and them! Ha, ha! So there’s him and he brings his experience from Mamelodi Sundowns. Benson brings his Orlando Pirates experience. I’ve got my experience from playing for Namibia. There’s Malokase, Elias Ngwepe and also good youngsters coming through. I mean Cavin is known for grooming younger players. These guys aren’t even making the team. That’s absolutely fantastic in my opinion, it keeps competition fierce at training. The main thing is to keep everyone happy – that’ll be the challenge going forward. But, so far so good!
As far as I’m concerned, there are no egos in our side. If I don’t make the team, I’m happy for whoever is starting. I would expect the same treatment if I’m starting. Obviously, everyone wants to play. That’s the downside of football, only 11 can play. There will always be guys that feel they want to play more, but there isn’t much the coach can do if the team is doing well. One thing that is interesting now, there’s a couple of suspensions coming up for Vuyo (Mere) and Thuso Phala. That means there is a chance for others to try and get back into the starting 11. I think it’s looking good for Platinum, I hope we can continue.
It’s a difficult one regarding our fans, we pride ourselves on being the only team in the North West. That’s why when Coach Cavin came in, he emphasised that we try to play good football. People love to be entertained, we are entertainers at the end of the day. It’s our job to play good football. We just have to be positive and hope that our supporters will come out. You must remember that for a long time there was no team in this region, so most of the people support Pirates, Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns. It’s going to take time for us to change their mindset. The way we can try to do that is by winning games.
Look, Rustenburg is small compared to Johannesburg and Cape Town. But we do get recognised in the malls and that, though maybe you don’t feel you are that well-known. I played for Moroka Swallows and they’re a big team, their supporters are different, you feel you have support. It’s not like now where a team is coming to our home ground and we feel like we’re playing away! I can’t fault anyone, we just have to keep doing what we’re doing and hopefully in the near future, we can get more bums on seats. I’d love to finish my career here and (after that) maybe go further with the team.