Santos coach Maart Nooij says that the failure to win enough games at home has been the Cape side’s downfall this season.
|Maart Nooij © Backpagepix
The Peoples’ Team finished the season with a 1-0 victory over Jomo Cosmos at Athlone on Saturday.
However, it was not enough to save them from the play-offs as Black Leopards beat Ajax Cape Town 3-1 in Polokwane to ensure they finished above Santos.
“I am 11 years in African football, 10 years in international competition and I know there are no surprises, no presents.
“So I told the players when I arrived that we have to do it ourselves, we have to win our own home matches. When you don’t do that you are in trouble.
“So we were not very disappointed about the results of Leopards, we were not concerned with that, it wasn’t our deal, we cannot influence it,” said the former Mozambique national team coach.
Sunday’s NFD action saw Chippa United and Thanda Royal Zulu qualifying for the play-offs after finishing second and third respectively.
Nooij claims that he is confident in his side’s ability to navigate their way through the upcoming weeks.
“We are all men, they have to show character. If we are disappointed sitting like little sissies and children crying in the dressing room it would be not good.
“I think we are ready for the play-offs – if they play like we did against Cosmos and continue progressing like they have since I took over, we are looking forward to these games”
“My team is getting fitter each day, so I am confident because I saw my team playing today – I think it was our best game in five weeks. We showed today we can even score without our top striker (Eleazar Rodgers, suspended).
“I am not here long enough to compare the standard of the NFD to the PSL, I don’t have the context to do that. I can only look at my own team and I think we are improving.”
Santos’ first match is on Wednesday, when they travel to Richards Bay to face Thanda Royal Zulu.
The full play-off fixtures are as follows:
23 May 2012 – Thanda Royal Zulu vs Santos
27 May 2012 – Chippa United vs Thanda Royal Zulu
30 May 2012 – Santos vs Chippa United
17 June 2012 – Santos vs Thanda Royal Zulu
20 June 2012 – Thanda Royal Zulu vs Chippa United
23 June 2012 – Chippa United vs Santos