With just one match to play in the GladAfrica Championship before they move a division below, Bizana Pondo Chiefs are just honoring fixtures with nothing to play for.
The side from Alfred Nzo District in Eastern Cape was relegated from professional football with three matches to play in their first season in the GladAfrica Championship.
Pondo Chiefs coach Clinton Larsen told FARPost that there was nothing he could learn from the club’s situation but it was the club management and players who must learn from their situation.
Larsen, who was brought in to save the team from the dreaded axe believes it was going to be a miracle to avoid the drop for the side from Pondoland.
“I didn’t learn anything, I think the club learnt, the club, the players, management, I think everybody learnt not to underestimate the strength of this league,” alluded Larsen.
“I think as a club we acted too late to bring the experience that we eventually brought in, your Deolin Mekoa, your Lerato Manzini, (Musa) Bilankulu. They all came quite late to the club, I think had they been at the club a lot sooner at the beginning of the season, this would not have been the case.”
“But yeah, we’ve learnt hard lessons, I think a lot of the young stars, especially that only played in the Motsepe League before, were a little bit naive in terms of what was expected at this league.
“I think also to expect these boys to understand the magnitude of fighting relegation and what it means and what needs to be done was a bit too much to ask. I think the players have grown from this experience, I think the club has grown,” said Larsen.
Having been involved in relegation fights before with Chippa United and Polokwane City the coach believes coming to Pondo Chiefs was not about making a good or bad decision but an opportunity to assist a friend.
“It was not wheather it’s a good or bad decision, at the time I was asked, I’ve known the chairman for a long time, even before he owned the team.
“You know, he came asking for my assistance and they say ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’, so I came through and I tried to assist where I could. It was not about being a good or bad decision, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.
“I knew we needed a minor miracle to keep the team up, but it wasn’t about that, it was about trying to help and try to improve the players and I think a lot of the young boys have grown in the short time I’ve been here.”
By Wonga Sirayi
FARPost’s KZN Reporter