/ 15 April 2008

Wits look to improve on successful season

Wits coach Roger de Sa is hoping to put the cherry on top of a successful season when the Students host improved Platinum Stars at Milpark on Wednesday night (8pm).

De Sa has done a fantastic job in rebuilding the side since the start of the Absa Premiership season for little cost.

The former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and trainer had one major goal when he took charge for his second spell at Wits. That was to avoid relegation.

Said De Sa: ”My first target was 32 points. That we achieved a while back. I worked out that 32 points would mean safety; now my next goal is 40 points.”

A win over Stars would take the Clever Boys to that target. It would also be enough for De Sa and his side to look forward to a place in the top eight and qualification for next season’s new Top Eight Cup, which will have a new sponsor.

De Sa has done his homework on Stars and watched them draw 0-0 away to AmaZulu on the weekend.

Stars shaped up well on the De Sa report card.

He said: ”Stars looked good. They are a workmanlike side. They fight for every ball and have shown a huge improvement under coach Miguel Gamondi. It is a tough game for us as Stars are also now pushing hard for a place in the top eight. But home ground should swing matters in our favour.”

De Sa had a clear-out of players when he moved back to Milpark after a spell at Santos. He plans to blood more youth next season.

He knows what he wants and knows how to get the right players for the right price. ”Wits spent a lot of money in past seasons. I did not see the need to spend a lot of cash as I was able to get what I wanted without breaking the bank, and I have adopted a youth policy that I will continue with next season.”

De Sa has four key players — defenders Phil Evans and Neil Winstanley, and midfielders Marawaan Bantam and Calvin Sosibo — in the treatment room. The four will miss Wednesday’s clash.

”But,” added De Sa, ”this gives me the chance to give some of my younger players a chance to get some game time as the season heads towards the close.”

Two midfielders who will come into the reckoning are Clive Moyo-Modise and Sandile Sibande.

After watching Stars play Usuthu at the weekend, De Sa reckons Stars striker Simba Marumo, who has been sidelined for most of the season with injury, could be a handful. He also rates industrious midfield kingpin Edwards Williams highly.

Said De Sa: ”Marumo impressed me when he made his comeback against AmaZulu. Despite the lack of match practice he showed he is still a quality striker and we cannot afford to give him room.” — Sapa