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‘That was our error’: Black Leopards boss on missing out on promotion

Black Leopards boss Tshifhiwa Thidiela admits the club made a critical mistake that cost them promotion to the DStv Premiership next season.

Lidoda Duvha is currently sitting 10th on the log standings in the Motsepe Foundation Championship with 34 points after 28 matches.

This past weekend, Leopards played to an entertaining 2-2 draw against AmaTuks at Thohoyandou Stadium. The draw ended AmaTuks’ dreams of gaining automatic promotion with two matches remaining before the 2023/24 campaign wraps up.

Magesi FC clinched promotion to the Premiership after defeating Milford FC 3-1 on Sunday, opening an eight-point gap on second-placed Tuks.

Meanwhile, out of the 28 games played this season, Black Leopards won 10, drawing four and losing 14 times as they struggled in the second-tier league.

Leopards were relegated to the ABC Motsepe League last season, but they returned to the NFD after buying the status of All Stars.


Alejandro Dorado at Black Leopards
Tshifhiwa Thidiela admits the appointment of Alejandro Dorado was an error

With Limpopo-based failing to gain promotion to the top league, Tshifhiwa Thidiela says they made an error by appointing Spanish coach Alejandro Dorado in July 2023. Dorado left Leopards in September 2023, just two months after taking over the coaching role.

“I think three matches ago we were chasing promotion, if you can look at the log, it’s very tight. So I remember we also had to do a new Black Leopards,” Thidiela told FARPost.

“We had to get rid of the old team and start afresh; we expected better [results] based on the squad we assembled. Without taking anything away from other teams, we played Magesi, who are log leaders, they scored in the last minute, and we were in control of the game.

“And we also played against Milford FC and if we played another ten minutes, we could have scored more goals. But soccer is not boxing, it’s soccer and you need to get the goals.

“I think for us, it is just to keep the same team, and we know that for the new season, we can go all out. I think the changes we made were good enough.

“The error could only be the coach we had at the beginning of the season from Spain [Alejandro Dorado]. Error in a sense that when you are from somewhere when you go to a new place, you need to observe first before imposing yourself.”

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