Reports & Previews

Free State Stars boss feeling bullish after Maritzburg win

New Free State Stars manager Nikola Kavazovic has backed his side to avoid relegation from the Absa Premiership after their victory over Maritzburg United last week.

Ea Lla Koto lifted themselves out of the drop zone - albeit by just one point - after securing a 2-1 away win against Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

The victory came after a battling 2-1 loss to league leaders Bidvest Wits.

Speaking after the game, Kavazovic said he was confident Stars would still be around in the top flight of South African football next season.

“After those two games (against Bidvest Wits and Maritzburg United) I’m pretty sure that we will avoid that (relegation). I think we can even reach top eight with this quality,” he said.

Kavazovic said he saw plenty to be impressed about in the loss to Wits, despite being outscored two goals to one.

“Statistically against Wits we dominated. Against the title winning candidates we had 63% ball possession. We had seven shots on target compared to Wits’ three. They took three shots and scored two. Today’s game was different. There are games where you can do everything but nothing goes your way. After so much domination, I was under the impression that we could have played three days without scoring a goal. But fortunately we succeed,” he said.

Next up for Stars is a clash against Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.

“We are now going to Cape Town without any pressure. We don’t need points over there. If we take points we would have done a great job because they are in a good shape at the moment. We are going there to enjoy our game. After Cape Town City, we have two games where we have to finish this story about relegation and focus on reaching top eight,” Kavazovic added.