The Monday Column: Baroka maturing
Posted: 2 October 2017 Time: 15:30
Baroka FC have made great strides in their quest to grow into a recognised PSL side, showing maturity and learning from last season’s mistakes.
Bakgaga, as surprising as it may sound, continue to lead the Absa Premiership standings after seven games played, and remain one of only two unbeaten teams this season – the other being Golden Arrows.
The improvement is evident in the Limpopo-based side’s approach this season, having made some key experienced signings such as goalkeeper Virgil Vries, as well as adding budding talents like Siphelele Ntshangase.
The likes of Abdi Banda has also been a key figure in their defense, having conceded just five goals in their seven games thus far – six fewer than they did at the same stage last season, while Gift Motupa has played a major role in converting chances up front, with four goals in seven appearances.
They have also roped in influential figure Doctor Khumalo as the club’s technical director, whom is sure to bring in the vast knowledge and experience he acquired at Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs over the years.
On the field, they have already shown improvement and resilience in their performances, coming from behind to win or salvage a point in tough circumstances against Orlando Pirates, Ajax Cape Town and more recently in their 2-1 win over Amakhosi.
While it is far too early for them to be considered serious title contenders, Baroka have already collected five more points from their opening seven games this season than they did last year, and have shown they can pick up points against both the giants and so-called ‘small teams’.
The real test, however, will come in December, when they face big-punching Mamelodi Sundowns, Maritzburg United and SuperSport United in consecutive clashes, before returning from a short recess in January for their second round clash against the Buccaneers.
For now, though, credit must be given to CEO Morgan Mammila, coach Kgoloko Thobejane and his troops for their showing thus far. Should they continue at the rate they are currently going, a maiden top-eight spot beckons for the 2015/16 NFD champions.