New Leopards coach eager to succeed

The Belgian, who has previously worked for clubs in Guinea, Rwanda, Kenya and Mali, took charge of his first training session in Polokwane on Wednesday afternoon after the club sacked Jean Losciuto.

Minnaert arrived in South Africa last Friday, a sign that Leopards had plans of getting rid of Losciuto.

Lidoda Duvha are currently in 13th place on the National First Division standings, with just two victories in 10 matches. Minnaert has a difficult task ahead of him, but he is ready for the challenge.

He has signed a three-year contract and is hoping he can see it out. To do so, he’d have to make sure Leopards get results and that they win promotion.

“I have friends here in South Africa and everyone believes we have the players to be champion. So I don’t know what was happening, maybe there was a negative spirit that they [the players] were having,” he said after his first training session with the players.

“The objective is to win the first game and then we take it game by game. We cannot say we are going to be champion, but we need to try recover every week and take points back and this is what we are going to try to do.

“I arrived last Friday in Johannesburg and then I joined the team on Saturday. I watched the game on Sunday [against Jomo Cosmos] and I made a few observations. The team decided to part with Losciuto and now I am taking over. We will try make a change in the team. It’s difficult to take over at this time but we are going to try make it as best as possible. I have a contract of three years, so I am hoping not to be here for a short time.”

Minnaert believes his experience of coaching in Africa will help him.

“I am an African already because the last five or six years I have worked in Africa,” he said.

“I think you can compare Leopards with a lot of top division teams in Africa. This is my first step in South Africa and I hope it’s not my last. This is a good country to work. The pitch we are training on is not perfect, but it’s good compared to other African countries.”

On his style of play, Minnaert said: “We play very offensive football. We need to try have presence in the [opposition] box.”