Bucs want redemption

2010-12-02 09:05

Redemption. That is what will drive Orlando Pirates when they face their old enemies and defending champions Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout final at a sold out FNB Stadium on Saturday night.

Kick-off is at 8.15pm.

Pirates skipper Lucky Lekgwathi, who had one of those nightmare games when Amakhosi trounced his side 3-1 at the same venue in the league version of the Soweto Derby last month, said his side would make amends. The hard-tackling Bucs captain was responsible for Chiefs two first half goals.

“We made too many mistakes against a good Chiefs side that day and we have to go out on Saturday night and redeem ourselves,” said the veteran defender.

The quietly spoken Bucs captain was the first to put his hand up and admit Pirates did not perform that day.

“It was not only the defenders, we did not play well as a team and conceded silly goals than sunk us. We know this is a big, big game for us and what better way is there to get even by beating Chiefs and winning a second successive cup,” he said.

Pirates brought their decade-long cup drought to an end in September when they lifted the MTN8 trophy, but while Pirates are still licking their wounds, Chiefs are favourites to do the “double” over their bitter rivals.

According to Chiefs captain Jimmy Tau, the 3-1 win is forgotten. “That game is not even in the backs of our minds any more.

“This is a new game and we are defending our title and aim to do just that.”

Tau said last week’s shock 3-2 defeat at the hands of lowly Vasco da Gama in a league outing, also played at the FNB Stadium, has motivated his players.

“That chapter is closed, but losing to Vasco has made us more determined. It was a wake up call for us.”

Chiefs also have a score to settle with their archrivals. It was Pirates who defeated the Amakhosi 2-1 over two legs of the MTN8 semi-finals, but Tau does not see revenge as a motivating factor.

“Revenge is not in our minds. Chiefs live on winning cups and being successful,” said the Chiefs captain.

Tau also conceded there was pressure on the players to bring home the goods.

“There is always pressure when you play for Chiefs and we as players have leant to handle it. We will not crack under the pressure. and we are in the best physical and mental condition possible.”

The record books, however, make Chiefs overwhelming favourites in the competition.

This will be Chiefs 16th final appearance with 12 victories. Pirates have played in the final five times, losing each time.

Bucs coach Ruud Krol pointed out, however, Cup finals are special and unpredictable. “It will be a matter of who will the coolest nerves and getting into rhythm first, who will triumph.”

There will be battles within the big battle. Lekgwathi will not allow Chiefs’ deadly striker Knowledge Musona, the freedom he enjoyed in the 3-1 win where he scored twice and forced Daine Klate into making a mistake and scoring an own goal.

Klate had a poor Derby last month by his high standards and he is determined to rise to the occasion when he plays against Tau, a veteran of countless Cup finals for both Chiefs and his former club Pirates.

Pirates’ strength is their wingers, Klate and Dikgang Mabalane, who flood the opponents’ penalty areas with quality crosses and this will cause problems for Chiefs.

Krol is hoping to expose the brittle Chiefs central defence pairing of Valery Nahayo and Dominic Isaacs, who both had nightmare games against Vasco.

Thulasizwe Mbuyane and the in-form Elena Otorugu could prove a handful for Burundi international, Nahayo, and Isaacs.

Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic was bubbling with confidence this week saying the players were pumped up.

The Serbian-born coach lavished praise on both sets of fans and south Africa soccer was truly remarkable.

“Nowhere in the world would you see opposition fans share taxis and cars going to the game. It opened my eyes to how fantastic local supporters are.”

» The final will feature some of the top South African musical talent entertaining the fans between 5pm and 7pm. DJ What What, Brikz, Pro Kid, and Big Nuz are some of the bands confirmed and fans are encouraged to come to the stadium early to avoid congestion closer to kick-off.

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