Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
9 Oct 2019
4:17 pm

Matlaba denies rift rumours at Leopards

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Former Orlando Pirates captain Thabo Matlaba says switching from the bright lights of Johannesburg to the semi-rural life of Venda was not too difficult for him and is enjoying his new role at Black Leopards. 

Thabo Matlaba of Black Leopards during the Absa Premiership match between Black Leopards and Baroka FC at Thohoyandou Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Thohoyandou, South Africa. (Photo by Philip Maeta/Gallo Images)

Matlaba has also been installed as captain at Lidoda Duvha and is enjoying the role mentoring the youngsters in the team to ensure they grow to their full potential.

“It’s not about adjustment, I am doing well there. I am an experienced player who is there to add value. I am there to help their young boys by teaching them how to win. I am very happy there,” he said of stay so far.

There have however been talk that some of the old guard in the team are not impressed with Matlaba and the likes of Thuso Phala and Mogokolodi Ngele were treated by management as they are believed to be the golden boys, but Matlaba denies this.

“To be honest, I never heard of such. So I won’t comment on that. The reception was good, the boys welcomed us well. We get along and there are no problems. We are there to help them and they also help us to take the team forward,” he said.

Matlaba says their focus right now is helping new coach, Luc Eymael achieve his targets for the team as they believe the Venda team has potential to grow exponentially.

“We have a new coach now so for now it is all about understanding his philosophy. All about understanding his tactics. He is there to teach us new things. He won a cup with Free State Stars so he is the best coach for us and he will help us.

“We as the experienced players have to help him to deal with issues in the team so we can push the team as far up as we can,” he said.

Leopards have a chance at staking their claim in the top flight by winning the Telkom Knockout and Matlaba believes this cup is their chance to put the club in the history books.

“We have a solid team who can compete in every cup. I think this is the first cup that we need to throw caution to the wind and go as far as we can. But we need to put the team first before individuals. It’s not about Thabo Matlaba or Thuso Phala but more about Black Leopards. We have to help this team to be in a better position this season.”

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