Newly reinstated coach, Freese Ntene, has vowed to end Linare’s disastrous start to the 2014/15 Premier League season, beginning with today’s home match against Nyenye Rovers.
The former Mpharane Celtics and Joy coach joined Linare in the middle of last season, taking over from Thulo Leboela, who had been relieved of his duties due to poor results.
However, despite taking Linare to third position on the 14-team Premier League log last term, Ntene was relegated to assistant coach at the start of this season, and replaced by Leboela, who is one of the club’s most revered former players.
But after four consecutive losses and one win in their five matches of the 2014/15 campaign, Leboela was sacked last week, with Ntene taking over the top post once again.
Ntene’s first match is against Nyenye in Hlotse this afternoon, and the youthful mentor is relishing the challenge and pressure which comes with coaching the ambitious outfit.
However, Rovers also come into today’s match hoping to make amends after a 3-1 loss to LCS in their own backyard last weekend—a result which saw them plummet to the bottom of the Premiership table.
In an interview on Friday, Ntene told the Sunday Express he believes his main task is ensuring the players regain their confidence following the shocking loss of form, which has left their fans frustrated and demanding a better showing from the team.
“It has been a week now since I was reinstated as head-coach, but I have noticed that the boys’ confidence is very low at the moment following their poor start to the season. I have been working very hard to ensure the players start believing in themselves because this is almost the same team that did extremely well last season, so we should not be in this situation,” Ntene said.
Yet Ntene admits the match against Nyenye would not be easy as both sides have had an indifferent start to the season and need to start collecting maximum points before it is too late.
“Nyenye are a very tough team, whose players are hardworking and quite disciplined. It is not going to be easy to beat them because we are both struggling to get out of that scary position at the wrong end of the table. But that does not take away the fact that I will not settle for anything less than the maximum three points when we meet on Sunday. It is time we turn the tide, and begin winning matches and we intend to do this against Rovers.
“For us, this is a must-win match because we are going to the Top4 tournament next weekend and a win will help boost our confidence. The players also must understand that the key to winning matches is hard work, and we have been doing exactly that in training this week, and hopefully, this will bear fruit come Sunday.”
On his part, Nyenye Rovers vice-secretary, Tumisang Mosuoe, said today’s tie would not be easy.
“We did not start the season well, just like Linare, but the problem with us is we have many new faces in the team who are still trying to fit in and be familiar with how we do things here. The coaches have been doing a good job, but getting the goals seems to be our other challenge as we are creating lot of chances but failing to convert them.
“However the spirit is high in the team, and we are ready to give Linare a run for their money come Sunday,” Mosuoe said
Meanwhile, in other league matches set for this afternoon, LMPS host Matlama at PTC Ground, while Lioli would be away to Likila United in Butha-Buthe.
Wounded Bantu, who are smarting from the 1-0 loss to LMPS on Wednesday, host in-form LCS at Seeiso Leshoboro stadium in Mafeteng.