Franklin Cale of Highlands Park and Brandon Theron of Highlands Park in tears during the Absa Premiership match between Highlands Park and Mamelodi Sundowns on 27 May 2017 at Makhulong Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix
Tuesday May 30, 2017. 11:36
Relegated Highlands Park caretaker coach Thierry Mabobo says the management must help to keep the current squad for them to return to the Premier Soccer League next season.
In their final game of the South African Absa Premiership last Saturday, the Lions of the North needed a win over Mamelodi Sundowns to avoid going back to the National First Division.
However, they failed to win as they drew 2-2 against the Tshwane side while Baroka FC beat Ajax Cape Town, thus ending Highlands stay in the elite league after one season.
The outspoken coach reacted after their draw on Saturday, saying the club took too long to fire former coach, Gordon Igesund.
Igesund replaced Allan Freese before the end of 2016 after five league matches, but the club's hierarchy kept the former Bafana Bafana coach for 21 league games as he won only two of them.
Furthermore, Mabobo and Les Grobler led the Tembisa-based outfit to five points in four league games, which was a good sign for the coaches.
“I would think so (that the club waited too long to act on Igesund). But who am I?,” said Mabobo to the Sowetan.
"Whether that’s true or not‚ that the change came late or whether if we still had Gordon here we would have won two games‚ you never know.
“I still believe that we should have made the change early. This is a difficult question to answer because I don’t want to knock people.
"Those are people that I worked with and I hold them in high regard. But collecting five points in four games is a positive.
“If we can keep this team‚ we are going to bounce back straight away because we are good enough not to be there - we are a very good team.”
As they prepare for life in the NFD, Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele have booked a spot in the PSL/NFD relegation play-offs and will face Stellenbosch on Wednesday.