Major Bright watched in disbelief on Thursday as his woes worsened. His team, Santos, was humiliated 4-1 by Rustenburg-based Platinum Stars in a Premier League encounter.
It was even painful for Bright, especially since the four goals they conceded were scored in the last twenty minutes. The loss by “the people’s team” means that Santos has conceded a massive 18 goals in five league and cup matches.
The results have put Bright in a precarious position and rumours are already doing rounds in South African media to give him the boot. Team owner, Goalim Alie, has, however, since dashed the rumours saying he has faith in Bright.
The performance of the team is a pale shadow of last season’s performance when they caused havoc by going on an unbeaten nine game spree and finishing in a reputable third position.
Bright, on the other hand, has his own explanation in regard to their loss to Stars. He told Sunday Standard after the game that the North West based team applied foul play which was there for everybody to see. “As you know, the game was not concluded on Wednesday because of power failure and had to be delayed for some time. By the time we left the stadium, the lights were on but the game was rescheduled for the following day. We were shocked to hear that it had to be played during the day instead of at night. No proper consultations were made and Stars knew that the midday fixture would favour them because it is hot in the North West province,” said Bright.
In regard to the overall unimpressive performance of the team, Bright said most players who were outstanding last season are a shadow of themselves.
“Last season Erwin Isaacs was unstoppable and had a magnificent combination with Elezar Rodgers. Currently, Isaacs is not as sharp as he was last season because he did not train during the pre-season due to an operation he had. The team is now not as scary as is used to be up front. Isaacs scored our only goal in the game but he missed several obvious chances which could have helped us to demolish Stars,” he said.
On why his fellow countryman, Jerome Ramatlhakwane, is rarely used despite the difference he always makes when introduced, Bright did not want to dwell much on the issue.
“Ramatlhakwane is a good striker and, if given a chance, he can score many goals. But why I have not been using him I cannot comment at the moment but his time will come and I am optimistic he will do what he knows best, scoring,” he said.
In a fortnight, Ramatlhakwane rescued Santos from the lion’s jaws by salvaging a last minute equaliser against hoodoo team, Orlando Pirates, after coming on as a substitute. After the star performance many people thought Ramatlhakwane would regularly be given a run. Against stars, Ramatlhakwane came in the last few minutes and made a huge contribution on the left flank but his fellow teammates fluffed many chances he created for them.
Bright also said their fixtures are not consistent and that somehow affects his preparations. Against Stars, Santos missed the services of four of their star players due to suspension. Among them was veteran Musa Otieno who has been the team’s pillar at the back. Another Botswana international, Mogogi Gabonamong, also had one of his worst games. He even conceded a penalty towards the end by fouling Stars’ Namibian international, Henrico Botes, and Hareaipha Marumo made no mistake by converting it, sending goalkeeper Wayne the wrong way.
Bright is, however, optimistic that things will start working better for the team sooner because he will rectify all the mistakes he has spotted. South African media is attributing mental fatigue of some players who were busy with the team last season.