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Chippa’s Late Season Slump Attributed To Injuries And Relaxed Mentality

  • June 17, 2024
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Chippa’s Late Season Slump Attributed To Injuries And Relaxed Mentality

Chippa United co-coach Kwanele Kopo has blamed a combination of injuries, suspensions, and a relaxed attitude for the team’s disappointing finish to the season.

Co-coaches Kopo and Thabo September, appointed in January 2024 during the Africa Cup of Nations, started well but failed to win any of their last seven matches in all competitions.

Despite losing five and drawing two of those final games, Chippa never faced relegation threats. They finished 12th in the DStv Premiership table with 34 points after 30 matches. They won seven games under Kopo and September, including a victory over Kaizer Chiefs and a four-game winning streak. This success coincided with the availability of key players like Goodman Mosele, Bienvenu Eva Nga, and Baraka Majogoro.

“The last results weren’t good,” Kopo admitted to Sportswire. “Several factors contributed to this. We had numerous injuries and bookings, and we lost Goodman Mosele. But I also think, speaking to the players, Chippa United has a history of fighting relegation until the very last game. This past season, we secured safety with six games to spare.”

Kopo believes a relaxed mentality after securing early safety affected the team’s performance. “Psychologically, I think the guys went into a relaxed mode,” he said. “Everyone thought, ‘Phew, we’re safe, it doesn’t matter anymore.'”

“We started using some younger players, so it was a combination of factors. Yes, we’re not happy with the results, but everyone at the club understands what happened during that period. We gave opportunities to players with an eye on next season. Since the club was comfortable, we decided to experiment a bit.”

Chippa’s last top-eight finish came in the 2015/16 season under Dan Malesela. Kopo and September’s initial strong form suggested a possible repeat performance, but those hopes faded.

“Initially, we thought we might make a surprise push for the top eight,” Kopo said. “But after losing two or three games in a row, we realized that mission became difficult. If you noticed, the last game against Sekhukhune United, we had five players from the DStv Diski Challenge on the bench. We might have lost the points, but I think we achieved some other objectives for player development.”

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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