Papic preparing Sihlangu team of the future
Sihlangu Semnikati Coach Kostadin Papic

Papic preparing Sihlangu team of the future

Eswatini-born footballers who are not part of the new look Sihlangu Semnikati should not despair, Serbia-born coach
Kostadin Papic has re-assured. Speaking during a Sihlangu media day on Saturday at the Mavuso sports centre, Papic
pointed out that all players had equal chances to play for the national team, but emphasized that performance was key for recognition. “When you have a squad and something is missing, you bring it in and if somebody is not adapting to the system or doesn’t want to play like you want, you release them and bring another one. This means the process of inviting and releasing players actually starts on the day you come to the camp,” said Papic. Papic also emphasised that he was not only building his squad for the upcoming game against Tunisia, but was preparing for the future. He challenged younger players to step up and be counted, as they would be given first preference. “We are not facing a ‘do-or-die’ match, but we are facing the future… and if we are thinking about our future, we must invest in players who are younger and can still adapt into the system faster and will do the job for us many years from now,” he elaborated. As if taking a cue from Minister Harries Bulunga, who said the focus should be on
good performances, Papic said, “We will not be travelling to Tunisia with a white flag, but we are going there to fight. We will try to make the nation happy. We will not promise anything. We are not here to promise, but we
are here to work. We are not going to defend anything because we have nothing to defend; instead we will give our players the freedom to show us what kind of talent they have and what kind of players we have for the future”.
He also pointed out that he was a little bit surprised by the player’s positive response to his program. While excited, Papic said the players were still not at the level where he wanted them. The coach wants the players to play high tempo football, exactly what he was renowned for at Orlando Pirates and during the short stint he had with Kaizer Chiefs. In conclusion, he acknowledged that they would be facing one of the strongest teams in
Africa, but would not concede that the game would be difficult for his side. “Difficult? The ball is the same, the grass is still green and there are two goal posts. Why is it not going to be difficult for them because they
don’t know what they are going to face? Like I said, we will not be afraid of anybody, but we will be going there to play football. As to what kind of results we get from that, we will see; but most definitely we are going there to play football,” concluded Papic.

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