D.N : The critics must have swarmed all over you following the Pirates game, and now reporters have publicly branded Rangers as chokers. Do you see this as a fair assesment ?
No, I dont - it was only one game, and things went horribly wrong on the day. Everything, that we could have hoped would not go wrong, went wrong - though, having said that, there are to be no excuses why we lost ... we were just outmuscled and outgunned by Pirates who were that much more hungry to win the game. As far as chokers are concerned, why is it that we are branded chokers when there are other clubs that have lost more games than they have won and yet are not branded like we are ? People who want to critiscise the club must not compare us on the plane of the big clubs - we are not big as Pirates, Chiefs and Sundowns simply because we donot have the resources at our disposal that they do. Instead of unduly critiscising and sensationalising events they, and I've said this before, must look at everything in context and comment accordingly. If we were on level footing as the other big clubs then sure, the critiscism could be levelled accordingly, but, I think that we are a club that have done extremely well in light of the limited resources at our disposal and I think that its unfair to label us in such a manner.

Manning Rangers F.C

INTERVIEW 2nd September 1999

D.N : What went wrong in Pirates disaster, and then the Santos league encounters ?
In the Pirates game, like I said, everything that you could imagine went wrong but in all fairness to Pirates, they were exceptionally clinical and hungry on the day for the win. We were sluggish on the field and I cant remember a single player that had a good game that day so it might be a bit unfair to single any one player out - I'm not looking for excuses, but perhaps altitude played a part in this sluggishness displayed by the players, but you cant afford to slip up against a class side like Pirates, and we paid a heavy price.

D.N : Left wing Japhet Zwane had a particularly bad game ??
Yes, he seemed a bit out of his depth defensively and that is something that we're going to have to work on but its something that he had to learn. I think, also one of the problems on the day was the lack of communication. You have you to realise that the side on the park (for that game) was completely different to the side from last season, and in the Premier League communication is essential between players. That seemed to be lacking as the players did'nt know where the other was, support play etc. Players dont get to know each other overnight - it takes a bit of time, but I have the utmost confidence in this bunch of guys and their ability to come good, and once they start communicating better with each other better, they will start going forward with the ball with more confidence. The few times that we did go forward as you might have seen in the game we troubled Pirates, and thats a very good reflection of how we can play soccer and for the future.

D.N : And against Santos ??
You could see that we vastly improved in that game, the guys were more committed and focussed. We were just unlucky that a couple of decisions did'nt go our way - like the bringing down of Kerryn Jordan in the box, which would changed the complexion of the game completely had the decision gone our way. But, the positive side is that the direct, attacking football which we promised at the beginning of the season was shown in this game. Its just the defensive side of our game that has to tighten up, and slowly we're ironing out the faults in our game plan.

D.N : How are the players coming along with the implementation of your new gameplan ?
They're coming along quite fine - communication, as I have said, is obviously one part that we to sort out because right now the players dont have that reading of how each other plays which leads to confusion which in the tough Premier League is very easily pounced on and dealt with. Playing attacking football continuosly has its drawbacks in that at times you're defensively caught out - that is another which we're working hard on eliminating. One way of doing that is through superior fitness levels, in that the players can go forward, and still have enough to fall back quickly and defend. In 2-3 weeks we will have reached our peak fitness levels, then I'm sure that we will see more positive results then.

D.N : A question sent in by email recently critiscised the demographics of the Rangers squad, in respect to the area and the traditional support that Rangers recieves, in short, the email inquires about the lack of Indian players in the side seeing that Manning Rangers recieves its support from the Indian community in Chatsworth ? Your response to this ?
I am well aware of those remarks being made yet how does one get an Indian player into the side ? Its not a question of bowing to public pressure, it is something that I have never done and will never do.

These crtiscisms are made by someone who is not familiar with the setup in the Rangers squad.

First of all, I answer to one person and only one in the Rangers management and that is our chairman Mr. Kaycee Reddy. He is someone who I have the utmost respect and admiration for. He has never pressured me into buying any player, of any colour, and that will be the way it will be.

I have a specific gameplan in mind - and if a player comes along that I like, then I will choose him for the purpose which I have for him, not because there is pressure coming from any quarters to do something that I dont want to do.

There is an amateur football league in Chatsworth, and I'm well aware of it, yet how many players from there are of Premier League quality ?

Being a professional footballer does'nt just require fancy feet - it requires a mental toughness to compete, the physical side of the game, the fitness as well as the professionalism of commitment involved.

I've had a few players that have come for trials but they've all left mainly because they could'nt cope with what I expect of them. Any of my players will tell you the tough training schedule that they have - fitness is one of my biggest aims in the squad and I absolutely detest laziness. A Rangers practise incorporates fitness first and foremost, I could care less if you can beat a player with one foot - but, what does that help if you can only do that for 5 minutes in a game ? It does'nt help struggling around the park for the other 85 minutes now does it ?

And what will premature elevation of an inexperienced player to the Premier League do for his confidence? He will be shown to be severely out of his depth.

Apartheid was a terrible scourge, it derived South Africa of many talented footballers. The Indian community had a great soccer culture but after the 60's and 70's when apartheid was at its height for some reason soccer died away. The parents that played disappeared from the game and the encouragement was never passed onto their kids, thats the sad part about it. Hence, one generation of footballers has been completely lost.

I believe that an Indian footballer will come along, but in time.

What is prevalent of todays game is that there are very few footballers that have the commitment to dedicate themselves to achieving their true worth. The youth are more involved in drinking, and going out to clubs, or concentrating on academic achievements instead of as in the past dedicating themselves perhaps to sporting achievements.

D.N : Would conducting trials be helpful ?
What does happen is that if someone is good enough to attract favourable attention then a scout is sent out to assess him, he is then invited to trials at Rangers, like in training with the squad etc. Every so often you get someone that stands out, but then whether or not he makes it to the side is based on his performance and attitude in the practise.