The last time Cavin Johnson was in charge of Platinum Stars they were legitimate title contenders. The club was on the cusp of winning their first ever Premier Soccer League title and only missed out by a single point behind Kaizer Chiefs during the 2012/2013 season.
He has been re-appointed to lead the club to a respectable finish this season as the threat of relegation was lingering in players’ thoughts. The re-appointed coach started his second spell with a 2-1 win over Ajax Cape Town this past weekend.
Johnson was instrumental in acquiring the services of Mogakolodi Ngele and Kabelo Dambe prior to the 2012/2013 season. He introduced the former Township Rollers pair to the professional PSL setup, he gave both players chances to prove themselves despite lacking experience at the time.
Ngele produced his best ever league form under the tutelage of Johnson as he scored 10 PSL goals to help his side to a club record second place spot (in the 2012/2013 season).
The coach left the following season to join Supersport United. Following his departure, the club dropped to eighth place in the league. Although the club won two cups (MTN 8 and Telkom Knockout), the league form of Ngele suffered under Alan Freese.
Freese used Ngele as an impact player in most games while opting to use Robert N’gambi as the main attacking midfielder or forward. As a result, Ngele’s league statistics began a downward spiral as compared to his time under Johnson.
His return could help Botswana’s duo, Dambe and Ngele, from suffering the dreaded relegation battle. Stars could still qualify for next season’s MTN8 if they can record a run of positive results in the last six games of the season.
In an interview with Gazette Sport, Dambe reiterated his team’s previous target of being amongst next season’s MTN8 participants, he also welcomed Johnson’s return.
“The win against Ajax is important because it will help us achieve our goal of staying further away from the relegation zone and closer to MTN8 qualification. We struggled earlier in the season because we lost a lot of our key players, the new signings took time to gel and that gave us numerous problems,” Dambe stated.
“We are delighted to have Johnson back, he is a great coach and knows most of the squad really well. He has set a target of earning 15 out of the remaining 21 points available to guarantee safety and an acceptable league position but we want more. We have a game in hand but that does not guarantee that we will get maximum points, we have to work hard to get results,” the Platinum Stars stopper concluded.
A reunion with a coach who brought the best out of Dambe and Ngele appears to have set the tone for Stars’ resurrection.