As we prepare to roll out the red carpet and welcome the new boys from Limpopo, Baroka FC, to the PSL, many are antsy in anticipation. There is a love for Baroka that you can't help have. They embody an old flame of South African football that has been extinguished at other clubs. There is swagger in their football, and they seem fearless in their bold attempts to try the impossible. The big question is: How do they maintain this?
It always leaves a sour taste in the mouth when a team is promoted to the big leagues, only to become the whipping boys and then sink back down. When the new boys rise, the vultures come out to play and often poach their players or expose their vulnerabilities early on, forcing management to make huge changes.
One of our supporters, Papa-Ona, had some great advice for Baroka on how to succeed and how to stay true to themselves as they step into the land of milk and money.
"Advice: to the management, keep Kgokolo Thobejane as your head coach...he proved his mettle by walloping seasoned PSL campaigners."
He also had some advice on how to use the new grant and possible sponsorship money wisely, based on a principle of loyalty.
"Now that incentives are going to be massive and revenue to increase drastically, especially when hosting teams like Pirates, Chiefs and Downs, don't become big-headed and try to underpay your young soldiers... negotiate better offers with them so that you retain the core of those who made it possible."
His last piece of advice was about how to negotiate the transfer market and not fall into the same trap other PSL teams seem to.
"To the technical team: never recommend signing players based on names of the club they once played for; rather unearth that massive talent around Limpopo, the talent that will grow with Bakgaga's playing style embodied in their veins with that discipline. Never change your formula because it worked for you; rather add to what you already have."
Lastly, a word of welcome.
"Welcome to the Promised Land... You earned it, it was not given on a silver platter. Protect it together, management, technical team, players and supporters, and the people of Limpopo."
What is your advice to Baroka as they knock on the door of the PSL? Do you see them going far in the league?