Ncikazi looking for improvement in defence
22 August 2015
Maritzburg United head coach Mandla Ncikazi is looking to eradicate individual mistakes in defence as he prepares his side for battle against Bidvest Wits on Wednesday night.
The Team of Choice conceded three second half goals to lose 3-1 away to Ajax Cape Town, a game which they could have won if they had made better use of the chances created and not given away some soft goals.
Maritzburg also conceded five goals to Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8, and Ncikazi admits this is an area which needs to be urgently addressed.
“I thought we played well, first half, I’ve never seen a team with so many opportunities, one on one with the goalkeeper and we don’t take the opportunities.
“Second half we started well until some moments of craziness. I thought the defending for the two goals was shambolic, to concede from such obvious set pieces.
“As a coach you have to take it, go and work on it, it was the same scenario against Kaizer Chiefs; leading 2-0 only to lose the game by a big margin. We had the better chances, but this is the outcome if you don’t take it,” he said of the Ajax game.
Ncikazi does not feel there is a collective problem at the back, and is hopeful that the eradication of unnecessary slip-ups at the back will set things right.
“I don’t think it’s a structural problem, its individual mistakes, we lose the ball in wrong areas, and it falls for opponents. As much as we still have some work to be done, I’m not concerned about how we are set up structurally, we have to try and improve individually and defend better.
“We lost a lot of players, I think eight players, and five of those were defensive players who we had to replace. Currently the work permit situation is affecting us, we have two centre backs that are still out, hopefully they’ll bring a solution,” he explained.
Ncikazi is in his first campaign as head coach after stepping up from the assistant coach role following the departure of former manager Steve Komphela.
When asked if he was finding his feet as the man in charge, Ncikazi jokingly replied, “I doubt whether I still have feet!” before admitting that it had not been an easy start to the season for him.
“Its really tough, I expected it to be like this, but I was hoping for some luck here and there. Against Kaizer Chiefs, the one goal was off-sides, things didn’t go our way. Against Cosmos, Kurt Lentjies I felt should have had a penalty.
“So things haven’t gone our way, but when you start making excuses as a coach, you become closer to an exit. I don’t want to make excuses, I’m still confident about the team and I think with a bit of luck when can turn things around.”