AT the beginning of the Absa Premiership season, Free State Stars were installed as the bookmarkers’ favourite to get relegated.
That tag hasn’t changed as they’re still seen as one of the teams that will be involved in the battle to survive relegation.
Ea Lla Koto’s status was on the verge of being sold to ABC Motsepe outfit, Moroka Swallows, but that deal fell off.
Things deteriorated when most of their players left the club to look for greener pastures. These are some of the reasons why most people regard Ea Lla Koto as relegation candidates.
When the Absa Premiership season resumes after the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon, there will be a serious tussle for points at the bottom half of the table.
But Ea Lla Koto, who are familiar with the relegation quagmire, are taking advantage of the lengthy break to come up with strategy to survive the drop.
Ea Lla Koto don’t want to be caught in the scramble for points when the league kicks off next month.
The Free State outfit will assemble for camp tomorrow and their general manager, Rantsi Mokoena, expects a team that will come out fighting from all fronts.
Mokoena urged his side to pull up their socks to avoid the dreaded axe.
Stars are on the 14th spot with 14 points from 15 matches and if they don’t collect maximum points, things could take a turn for the worst.
Highlands Park and Baroka FC have 12 and 13 points in 15th and 16th position from the same number of games.
Mokoena said: “We have to pick up the pieces. The second round will be tough as every point counts. We have to fight with all that we have. We will beef up the squad with experienced players as we are heading to an important half of the season.”
Ea Lla Koto will visit Kaizer Chiefs on 7 February at the FNB Stadium. They couldn’t have asked for a tougher start to their 2017 campaign.
But Mokoena insisted they have learnt their lesson.
Ea Lla Koto ended their 2016 campaign with an impressive 1-0 victory over Telkom Knockout champions, Cape Town City FC.
“The end to the year was encouraging. We have to work hard to avoid being caught up in the relegation battle again,” Mokoena added.