Munyaradzi Chiwanza, Bloemfontein
STAND-IN coach Themba Sithole has vowed to revive the fortunes of Free State Stars despite receiving a baptism of fire in his first match in charge as Ea Lla Koto were thumped 3-1 by Pretoria University in a league match played last Saturday.
The Qwaqwa-based side elevated the 47-year-old assistant coach to the hot seat after sacking his boss Steve Komphela last week following a string of poor results.
Sithole has over the years been Stars’ crisis man, having previously been appointed as the club’s acting coach for brief periods in 2008 and again in 2009.
This time round he might stand a chance to make the job his permanently should he steer Stars back into contention for a top-four finish.
“I was just told to take over from Steve after I had just arrived from a scouting trip in Ghana,” Sithole told the Free State Times this week.
“It was not a scenario of saying yes or no but yes only.
“Now the pressure is there because we are trying to do better than the previous coach.”
Ea Lla Koto are currently wallowing in the relegation zone, lying 14th after amassing a paltry 12 points from as many games this season.
Sithole, who faces Mpumalanga Black Aces in his next assignment on Monday, is promising to employ a fresh tactical approach at Stars.
“We have to try and implement new things . . . try to change the mindsets and introduce a new style of play in the team,” he.
Stars have also re-engaged former Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri as assistant coach.
“Our first task is to stabilise our performance and, secondly, we need to move out of the relegation zone,” said Sithole, who has been with Ea Lla Koto for 27 years, including his days as a player.
“We can do something people are not expecting,” he added.
“We only need to win one or two games and finish the league in a respectable position.
“I am willing to maintain the same team but I might register one or two players to strengthen the squad.”