Baroka FC emerged 4-0 victorious over Black Leopards in the Motsepe Foundation Championship Limpopo derby in Lebowakgomo on Sunday. It was a second win for coach Dan Malesela who has been in charge for three matches so far.

All four goals were scored in the second half via Kabelo Kgositsile, Dan Ndlovu, Siyabonga Mtombeni, and Khomotjo Lekoloane. The win takes Baroka to position eight on the log standings with 10 points, nine behind leaders Orbit College.

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“I think what is good is the instructions that we gave at halftime,” said Malesela after the match.

“Also what the substitutions took from what we said even on the field, coupled with what was said at halftime,” he said after three of the goals came from the substitutions.

“The response was very good and we need to keep this going. When you score four goals in the third match, you then hope that it will raise a level of confidence.”

 Baroka FC outclass Black Leopards in Motsepe Foundation Championship Limpopo derby
Baroka FC players celebrate a fourth goal against Black Leopards in Lebowakgomo

BLACK LEOPARDS SUFFER HEAVY DEFEAT AGAINST BAROKA FC IN LIMPOPO DERBY

Leopards on the other hand are at position number 13 with seven points from their eight matches. Assistant coach Solly Luvhengo is optimistic that it’s just a matter of time before the fortunes change at the club.

“As a coach, I can’t concentrate much on the defeat, we have a job to do but we must look at the holistic performance,” said Luvhengo.

“The first goal killed us because it was a mistake at the back. We will take the defeat but I think we were supposed to correct the mistakes. We were bad but we are not falling bad.”

MOTSEPE FOUNDATION CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND RESULTS

Hungry Lions 0-0 Maritzburg United
Baroka FC 4-0 Black Leopards
Marumo Gallants 1-1 Upington City
Magesi FC 0-0 Platinum City Rovers
Pretoria Callies 0-1 Orbit College FC
JDR Stars 0-0 University of Pretoria
Milford FC 2-0 Venda Football Club
NB La Masia 1-0 Casric Stars

Limpopo club Black Leopards have announced Alejandro Dorado as their new head coach ahead of the 2023/24 PSL season. Dorado is a Spanish-born coach who started his coaching career at the Real Madrid Youth team.

He joins Liodda Duvha on a three-year deal and will work alongside Peter Mponda who will be his assistant coach. The 38-year-old was officially unveiled during a media briefing at Meropa Casino in Polokwane on Monday.

ALSO READ: OFFICIAL: Black Leopards buy PSL status

The press conference was attended by amongst others BLeopards President David Thidiela, Chairman Chief Thidiela, club fans as well as the media.

Black Leopards appoint Alejandro Dorado as the new coach 
Alejandro Dorado with Chief Thidiela

ALEJANDRO DORADO TAKES CHARGE

It is the first time that Dorado is taking charge of a club as the head coach at Black Leopards. His previous experience includes a stint at Finnish side FC Honka in 2018. He also worked under former Liverpool and Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez. They worked together at the Chinese Super League club Dalian Pro.

Dorado, who has a UEFA Pro Licence, also worked for HFX Wanderers FC in the Canadian Premier League. He was an assistant manager.

Limpopo club Black Leopards have confirmed their return to the PSL after purchasing the status of All Stars.

Leopards were relegated from the Motsepe Foundation Championship at the end of last season after two decades in the top flight.

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But the club had been flirting with relegation for a while and were subsequently demoted to the SAFA lower league. After deliberations, the club has now returned to the professional ranks.

Black Leopards logo design
Black Leopards announce buying PSL status

BLACK LEOPARDS RETURN TO THE PSL

One of the major changes is that Chief Thidiela now takes over as the Chairman while David Thidiela is the president. Thidiela made the official announcement at Meropa Casino in Polokwane on Friday morning.

“We took so long to reach a conclusion because as a family we had different views,” said Thidiela at the media briefing. 

“We sat and acknowledged that we are spending money that we are not getting back. So the only reason we agreed to do it was to say there are other families that are earning a living because of this team. The influence and the impact that the team has on the community is very big. That is the major reason why we were able to go and convince other family members. But we came out collectively with the view that let us continue [with football]. Even though financially it is not viable,” he explained. 

Motsepe Foundation Championship side Black Leopards received a major lifeline in pursuit to save their status after the Limpopo side beat rivals TTM on Sunday.

The 2-0 win at Thohoyandou Stadium saw Leopards jump from the bottom of the log to second from bottom with four matches to play. But Leopards are six points below the safety of their PSL status.

MOTSEPE FOUNDATION CHAMPIONSHIP GETS INTRESTING

The two clubs they can possibly catch are La Masia and Platinum City Rovers who have also not been doing well.

Head coach at Leopards Owen Da Gama admits the win was a lifeline and they vow to fight for the last remaining possible 12 points.

“It’s definitely a lifeline. We are not trying to play down the situation, we are still in a very serious position,” he told the media after the match.

Limpopo club Black Leopards gets a lifeline in Motsepe championship
Black Leopards coach Owen Da Gama

“It’s only over until the fat lady sings. Then it’s over but now we just have to focus, there are no celebrations. We just have to focus on the next game [against Hungry Lions]. We have two weeks now to prepare.

LIFELINE FOR RELEGATION THREATENED LIMPOPO SIDE BLACK LEOPARDS

“As you know the teams in the ABC Motsepe league are closed so it’s very difficult to find a friendly but we will have to find ways on how to keep as fresh as possible,” he said.

“‘We need the next three points, that is the most important thing. Then we look at the next three. Because if you look at six points and you say it’s nothing then you end up getting nothing. So I think for us we just need the next three points. We don’t care who wins or loses but we just need the next three points. There are 12 points to play for and we must die for those 12 points.

Hungry Lions, City Rovers,  All Stars and VFA 

Black Leopards suffered a major setback in their pursuit Motsepe Foundation Championship survival and subsequently sank deeper into relegation.

This comes after Lidoda Duvha lost 1-0 to Limpopo rivals Baroka in Lebowakgomo on Sunday. The defeat further plunged the club to the bottom of the log with just five matches remaining.

Also read: Black Leopards knocked out of Nedbank Cup

But head coach Owen Da Gama refuses to give up and vows to fight for the remaining 15 points to play for.

“The games are getting fewer, there are 15 points to play for now. There is no one easy game in the NFD but we will keep on fighting,” he said.

“It’s encouraging when you create chances. I think we just need to keep on fighting, as long as we can understand our limitations and our strength. That’s very important.

“The technical team is doing its best to get the best out of the players. The players are fighting very hard but if you are unlucky with your chances then it’s difficult,” added Da Gama.

Black Leopards sink deeper into Motsepe Foundation Championship relegation
Black Leopards Chairman David Thidiela looks an as they lost 1-0 to Baroka on Sunday

Their next match will be against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivahndila at home before an away encounter to Hungry Lions. The other remaining fixtures will be against City Rovers, VFA and All Stars.

Full Motsepe Foundation Championship Weekend results

Sun, 2 April

Baroka 1-0 Leopards
TTM 2-2 All Stars
Magesi 1-0 City Rovers

Sat, 1 April
Hungry Lions 1-0 Uthongathi
Polokwane City 0-0 AmaTuks
Casric Stars 1-0 La Masia
JDR Stars 2-0 CT Spurs
Pretoria Callies 1-0 VFA

Pressure is piling up for Limpopo side Black Leopards to save their Motsepe Foundation Championship status. This comes as Lidoda Duvha lost their 11th game of the season and remains rooted at the bottom of the log. They went down 2-1 to Pretoria Callies at Thohoyandou Stadium.

If things remain the same, Leopards could lose their PSL status and in the process get relegation to the SAFA amateur structures.

BLACK LEOPARDS NOT CONVERTING THEIR CHANCES

“We are creating chances, but we are not scoring and we give away silly goals,” beyond Leopards coach Owen Da Gama.

Black Leopards owner David Thidiela
Black Leopards owner David Thidiela

ALSO READ: Leopards reappoint Joel Masutha as head coach

“Even last week, in the first half we were supposed to win 4-0 but we didn’t convert even if it’s an open goal. But we will continue to push. I am not someone who gives up. We will push until the end. We need 15 points from the last eight games, and we must get them.”

HOW OTHER LIMPOPO TEAMS ARE DOING IN MOTSEPE FOUNDATION CHAMPIONSHIP

POLOKWANE CITY

City are top of the log following a 2-0 win away to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila on Sunday. They are on 46 points, two points above their closest promotion contenders Cape Town Spurs. With eight matches to go, Rise and Shine could find themselves competing in the DStv Premiership once again. They are the only club from Limpopo currently in the top eight.

BAROKA FC

Bakgaga Ba Mphahele, competing in the first division following their relegation last season are at position nine. Their chances of gaining promotion or at least securing a promotion playoff spot are slim. This is as they are on 26 points from 11 matches.

MAGESI FC

Magesi bench during Motsepe Foundation Championship match in Limpopo
Magesi bench during Motsepe Foundation Championship match in Limpopo

Despite their excellent start to the season, Magesi are not yet safe from relegation. They are also on 26 points and sit on position 11. Two more wins can secure their safety from any danger. Their next league match is against Black Leopards on Tuesday, 14 March at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.

VENDA FOOTBALL ACADEMY

VFA is another club that is not safe from facing the chop at the end of the season. They have already changed coaches three times this season with Joel Masutha currently at the helm. VFA are third from bottom, nine pints above Black Leopards.

RELATED POST: Black Leopards knocked out of Nedbank Cup

Limpopo GladAfrica Championship side Black Leopards were unable to advance through to the Nedbank Cup last 32. This follows a 2-1 defeat by Free State Stars at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, in Polokwane on Tuesday.

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The visitors opened the scoring through Thuso Moleleki a few minutes before the first half.

But Leopards came back in the second half a rejuvenated side and found an equaliser through Tsheamo Mashoene with 15 minutes to go.

BLACK LEOPARDS ARE OUT OF NEDBANK CUP 

A lapse of concentration by the home side allowed Mathonsi Maluleke to grab a winner with five minutes to go.

Other GladAfrica Championship Nedbank Cup play-offs results on Tuesday:

TS Sporting 3-1 JDR Stars

Jomo Cosmos 0-0 Uthongathi

*Uthongathi won 4-1 on penalties

Limpopo GladAfrica Championship club Black Leopards have reappointed Joel Masutha as their head coach. Masutha was in the books of Pretoria Callies until a few days back when he resigned from his post.

He is now tasked with taking the club out of the relegation zone and at least securing a spot in the promotional playoffs at the end of the season.

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Masutha addressed the media in Polokwane following his first training session held at Ladanna.

“It’s always a good feeling to be back because I am familiar with the surroundings, the management, the chairman, even the players, so it felt good to be back,” he said.

JOEL MASUTHA REAPPOINTED BLACK LEOPARDS COACH 

Masutha did not leave the club on the best of terms in 2018 after helping them gain promotion to the DStv Premiership. But the former goalkeeper insists there was never bad blood between him and the club management.

“You know in football you don’t hold grudges or dwell on the past. Also, the main thing is that I grew up at Black Leopards. The Chairman (David Thidiela) is like a father to me. Even when we parted ways there was no bitterness between myself and the board.

“So, when I got a call from the chairman it was very easy. Even when I was not part of the club we used to talk and to check up on him. So it feels good to be back home,” added Masutha.