While the PSL has announced some juicy opening National First Division fixtures for the new 2013/14 season, the clash between newly-promoted Baroka FC and Sivutsa Stars has the hallmarks of a very interesting encounter.
Not only will this match at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium see the second tier’s two youngest coaches, Sello Chokoe and McDonald Makhubedu, on opposing benches but it significantly brings the pair together for the first time since Stars controversially knocked Baroka out of the 2011/12 Vodacom League National Play-Offs in Cape Town - where Phil ‘Mr Jones’ Setshedi was arrested for bribery and corruption.
Thirty-one-year old Chokoe, who is good friends with Makhubedu, 30, believes it’s now pay-back time.
“It’s a game of young coaches but we’ll have to make it exciting,” he told Soccer-Laduma. “I’m sure the boys will be eager to play well in their first professional game. At home, in front of our supporters, we’ll go all out for maximum points. If we don’t achieve that against a side that was fighting relegation for the past two seasons, it’ll be a disaster for me. I’m going to respect Sivutsa, prepare well, it’s not really about the age but the experience I can learn at this level.”
A few seasons ago, Makhubedu, who chats almost daily with Chokoe, made history by becoming one of the youngest NFD coaches.
“I was Batau FC’s head coach at 27 but people didn’t notice,” he says proudly. “This is my fourth season in the NFD. Chokoe and I deserve credit. Young coaches want to learn more every day. Over the years I’ve picked up tips from guys like Jomo Sono, Shepherd Murape, Innocent Mayoyo and Aschwin Sutton.”
Stars have a completely new team and with Baroka’s previously renowned pedigree, this match should be a real humdinger!
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