No panic at the Park – Highlands Park boss

Reneilwe Letsholonyane

Cape Town – No panic at the Park.

This is the message from Highlands Park chairperson Brad Kaftel after the “Lions of the North” suffered disconcerting 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against Kaizer Chiefs and Stellenbosch FC respectively in their last two Absa Premiership fixtures.

In the process, Highlands have slipped from a burgeoning fifth position on the Absa Premiership log to barely holding on to a place in the significant top eight positions as they prepare to face Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

“There were distinctive, unusual factors for the defeats against Chiefs and Stellenbosch after we had gained six points from our two previous matches,” said the Highlands boss.

“In the first instance Chiefs were celebrating the club’s 50th anniversary and this, no doubt, inspired them in front of a vociferous home crowd of 50 000, while our players appeared over-awed by the occasion.

“The home game against Stellenbosch, in which we had 80 percent possession, was in direct contrast in which we hit the woodwork three times, squandered countless opportunities and ended losing via breakaway goals.”

Kaftel also pointed to the fact that “Highlands were currently suffering from injuries to several key players” – but he insisted that there was nothing basically wrong at the club that once dominated South African soccer with its feats in the old National Football League and only made a comeback to the country’s major soccer echelon three seasons ago.

“I’ve been hounded by the media since our last two losing matches,” added the Highlands chairperson, “demanding to know what changes we contemplated. The answer is precious little. We have full confidence in coach Owen da Gama, who has done an excellent job in building a squad with a number of young players and is under contract until the end of the 2020/21 season.

“As to buying players during the transfer window, we are not going to buy for the sake of buying – and there are precious few players available at this time who could make much difference to our squad, with the objective to finish the season again among the top eight teams still on track.”

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