01/23/2012 6:09 AM
- Black Leopards were hot and ready to show the PSL why they are champions of the Mvela Golden League. Gaining promotion after an impressive run at the Mvela league the Limpopo side received a blessing in the form of the Limpopo provincial government offering Black Leopards the chance to use Peter Mokaba Stadium free of charge for the season.
The great news kept on coming as the team was joined by Limpopo radio station Capricorn FM and local newspaper Messenger as their media partners for the then upcoming season.
With that being done it was game on for ‘Lidoda Duvha’. They opened their first game against the Treble winners Orlando Pirates. It was not to be their perfect start as they went down 2-0 at the hands of the Buccaneers.
This was followed by another loss to Celtics as they were still trying to settle in, hence Leopards supremo David Thidiela was quoted saying- “We have a solid team although we are disappointed that our return to the PSL started on a bad note by losing two games against Pirates and Celtic, but we remain hopeful”
They then showed their winning ways as they thumped Golden Arrows 2-0. Just when the engine seemed to have been ignited, a loss to Super sport United followed the win from Arrows. This seemed not to be the month for Leopards as they could only afford to get draws in the month of September 2011. They wrestled a point from Platinum Stars, followed by a single point from Maritzburg United and closed the month with yet another draw with Santos.
Come October 2011 a chance to challenge for silverware fell upon Leopards as they drew a performing Orlando Pirates out of the hat.
The same result as the opening match was handed to the unlucky Limpopo side and their fate was decided, knocked out of the Telkom Knockout competition. With that having taken place maybe it was a good sign as the side could now focus their attention on improving their PSL standings?
An old and successful head coach Sunday Chidzambwa admitted that it was time for him to take the back sit regarding leading the team as he has done enough for the young stars. This triggered a call-out to former coach Heric Vladislav to approach the spot light.
"We have officially recalled Warriors head coach and former Black Leopards mentor Heric Vladislav to be the head coach of the team.
“Coach Sunday Chidzambwa , has however not been fired and will be redeployed within the team structures” – stated Black Leopards FC Media office.
Leopards then closed the month of October with Heric Vladislav being handed his first defeat in charge of Lidoda Dhuva, these were the doings of the Brazilians (Sundowns), a thrashing loss of 5-0.
Perhaps it was time to introduce some change in order to manipulate much needed victories. As the order of the day and right on time legendary sportswear brand Kappa joined Black Leopards on a deal to sponsor the club. Whilst on the field the team got former Celtics star Kleeinbooi Taaibos to put ink on paper and sign a deal. He was not the only player that was on their playing card; also Simphiwe Mkhonza of AmaZulu (at the time) was undergoing trials.
Whilst that was taking place Leopards made certain of getting 3 points from AmaZulu in Durban. Lidoda Dhuva seemed to be blossoming as their striker Rodney Ramagalela received a call-up and emerged as one of the best performers for the national under-23 side, in a fiercely contested encounter against the Ivory Coast in Marrakesh Morocco. It was a good month for the team as they closed it with a draw against Jomo Cosmos at Giyani, a valuable away point.
December had arrived and teams had the last chance to at least close the season with a bang. Leopards took on Moroko swallows and unfortunately acquired a loss after playing ever so well. At that point the team finally announced that Simphiwe Mkhonza had stuck a deal with the hopefuls and they were happy to have him on the team.
Lidoda Dhuva went on to lose the last two matches against Wits and against Santos which was a hard fought match that ended 4-3(Santos match).
For then the team could take the positive of scoring goals as a sign that maybe the corner is not too far as they can turn things around in the second round.