LUC Eymael has thrown down the challenge to his Black Leopards players to win their remaining two games of 2019 to muscle their way into the Absa Premiership top eight bracket before the festive season break on 22 December.
First they play struggling AmaZulu at home at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday and Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on 21 December to end the year.
“If we can do that we will find ourself in the top eight,” said Eymael following their 2-1 win against Golden Arrows at a tense league clash at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday.
It was expected that fists might fly during the match considering the hatred between the two coaches, Eymael and Steve Komphela of Arrows – but sanity and professionalism prevailed.
“All PSL matches are tough but we have to fight to be in the top eight.”
He expressed his excitement following their win and heaped praise on the performance of his charges in front of their fans in Venda.
Leopards came into this clash from a disappointing 3-0 defeat against bottom side Chippa United in Port Elizabeth last week.
The 60-year-old Belgian has appealed to Lidoda Duvha fans to continue rallying behind the team at the stadium.
“I think our fans were a little bit sleepy on Saturday,” he said.
“Our fans need to support the team at all times, and not only after we scored. They need to learn from English Premiership fans. They rally behind their teams from the start until the end. We need them (fans).”
He believes his players played with big hearts on Saturday, with Arrows first to score in the 39th minute through Knox Mutizwa, but Alton Kapinga and Themba Ndlovu came back in the second half with their horns well sharpened to win the match for Leopards.
“I am happy with their performance,” he said.
“I can’t ask for more. We could have scored more than three goals, especially in the second half. I think their goalkeeper saved them on many occasions.”
Meanwhile, Komphela believes Mutizwa has the capabilities to win the Golden Boot award at the end of the season if he continues to find the back of the net.
The 26-year-old is leading the goal scoring charts with eight goals, which is equal with Highlands Park striker Peter Shalulile.
“Mutizwa needs to be serious if he wants to end the season as the leading goalscorer,” said Komphela who believes they were unlucky to lose to Lidoda Duvha.
“I believe Mutizwa can go all the way. He should have scored more goals against Leopards. He does not need to be comfortable.”
He continued: “I don’t want to be arrogant, but there was only one team in the field. The only team which was on the field lost. The only problem we had was the attitude after we scored the first goal. This is the game we could have easily won. But we take the result and we will continue working hard.”