In this week's DoRego's blog, we feature Black Leopards’ Tiyani Mabunda.
It’s not easy being in the relegation zone, but we are coping quite well with the pressure because we have been in this situation before and we know how to handle this type of situation. We aren’t panicking. There are still many games to go and we still believe that we aren’t going to get relegated and we will be campaigning in the PSL next season. We aren’t pressing any panic buttons! Look, we started the season very well and our aim was to at least fight for the top eight, having kept our PSL status last season. But there were too many injuries to some players in the camp and it really affected us. We are happy now that most of those players are back and ready to fight for the team’s status.
On conceding 38 goals in 22 games (before last night’s game against Moroka Swallows)
Eish, we’ve conceded a lot of goals this season and the coaches have been working on that with the team. Bit by bit we see improvement in our defence and we are happy that they are working hard. It’s really gonna come up and be okay in the near future. Sometimes it’s not the defence that’s at fault because at times you find that the opponents are more clinical in converting their chances. I think we have good defenders and it’s just unfortunate that most goals that are scored against us happen at crucial moments of the game. It looks bad, but looking deep into the situation (of conceding too many goals), it’s not as bad as it looks. It’s just that we concede goals at crucial moments.
I feel I can do more looking at our performances from the season, but so far I think all is going well. I’ve still got a lot of things to improve on and with more hard work hopefully I’ll reach the performance standards that are required of me. Having played in the Caf Confederation Cup last season has helped me to be more confident in my ability. I’ve learnt a lot from campaigning in the African tournament. It’s helped my confidence and to be on par physically with my counterparts. Look, I know a lot of people have been impressed with my performances and I think it all just boils down to hard work, whether at training or in a game. You just need to keep on working hard and it will all pay off on game day.
On the rumoured interest from the other teams? Hmmm… I don’t think there’s going to be a move for me to another club at this stage. I’m still contracted to Black Leopards and I don’t know anything about making a move. I’m just focusing on my game now and playing, and we’ll see what happens in the future. I don’t know of any club that’s after me now because I haven’t heard anything about going to another team. I’m just working hard and hoping for the best. Everything will be seen at the end of the season because now all we are fighting for is to maintain our status in the PSL.
Abel Makhubele has been in the club’s coaching setup for three seasons now and every time he comes back on an interim basis, it’s just like a continuation from where he left off. We understand his philosophy and he interacts well with the players because we know exactly what is required for us to get out of the danger zone. We understand him and we know what he wants. We have to attack more because we aren’t in a good position on the log. We have to get as many goals as we can, considering the position we are in. His philosophy requires a lot of running, so we have to be fully fit and ready to run for 90 minutes. We have to play quick football and attack more.
We plead with our supporters to keep rallying behind us and we want to continue to fight so that the team can remain in the PSL. We need them to help push us to our limits. We are grateful for the support they have given us through thick and thin and, with them behind us, we managed to avoid relegation last season. We are ready to fight for our team to remain in the PSL again this season!