This is the question that everyone is asking at the moment regarding Premier Soccer League new entrants Baroka FC. The team has been promoted to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) from the National First Division (NFD). Baroka FC finished the NFD 2015/2016 season as log leaders and that gained them automatic promotion to the PSL. Baroka is replacing Jomo Cosmos FC. Cosmos finished at the bottom of the PSL log standings which automatically relegates them to the NFD.
Baroka FC will be joined by Highlands Park FC as they won the promotional play-offs against Mbombela United FC and Pretoria University FC. They were playing the ply-offs which sees the winner joining Baroka FC at PSL for the 2016/2017 season. The play-offs are played by 3 teams, one which finished second from bottom at the PSL, and 2 which finished second and third in the NFD. The winner then joins the automatically promoted team at the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Now the problem is whether Baroka FC and Highlands Park FC able to make standard at the PSL. The PSL and the NFD are very different, although the standard of soccer at the NFD has been growing highly during the past 2 seasons. For the past 2 seasons we have seen a lot of PSL teams losing to teams from the NFD in the Nedbank Cup which includes teams from lower leagues.
Baroka FC must make sure that they are well prepared for their debut season in the PSL, if not then they will have to pack their bags and head back to the NFD at the end of the 2016/2017 season. It is very tough in the PSL. Teams have been promoted and again relegated back to the NFD a lot of times. Baroka FC might be one of them.’
Looking in to the Baroka FC squad and management, there is a lot of potential in the team and the coach is a very good one. Mr Thobejane is the right man for Baroka FC. If they planning to remain in the PSL in their first season, they must retain their coach. They must also not change a lot of playing personnel. Their current squad is good enough to compete in the PSL, they just need to strengthen their team with only 4 or 5 experienced players.
Baroka FC must avoid mistakes done by other teams which were promoted and changed their entire squads including the coaches who got them promoted. Signing the tried and tested players of other PSL teams will not help Baroka FC at all. If they are thinking about signing players, it should be experienced players who are playing week in and week out for their current teams. With this mentality the team will be able to secure their status during their first season in the PSL, then they will be able to fight for a trophy or two in their second season.
Their coach is very confident of the current players at his team and he has been praising each and every player in the squad for the contribution they had during the promotion campaign in the NFD. We will wait and see whether being in the limelight will not get in to the heads of Baroka’s youngsters. If possible they must ask Orlando Pirates to loan them Gift Motupa as he is not being used at Pirates, and also Thabiso Kutumela should play for Baroka again this coming season. With changes at Orlando Pirates coaching department, it will be very difficult for Motupa and Kutumela to get game time at Orlando Pirates. Muhsin Ertugral as the new coach at Pirates, is known to use tried and tested players, so Thabiso and Gift will not feature that much at Orlando Pirates in the coming 2016/2017 season.