Kanono urges United FC to go for Pirates

2011-04-02 00:00

FOR a side languishing in the bottom half of the National First Division Inland Stream, United FC are quite confident of springing a surprise in the Nedbank Cup last-16 against Orlando Pirates tonight at the Seisa Ramabodu stadium.

In a low-key weekend of matches, the match-up between the Free State minnows and the Buccaneers provides one of the more absorbing contests.

Former Pirates playmaker Kanono now finds himself back in the Free State, where he once campaigned for Bloemfontein Celtic, at United. The dreadlocked midfielder highlighted the importance of his side not being intimated by their illustrious opponents, who have lost just one game in their last 17 league and cup matches.

“We are well aware of their impressive record in the league,” ThabaNchu-born Kanono said.

“What will be vital for us on the day is not to be intimidated by them or their record. On the day that will not play a part, it will be 11 against 11 and our youngsters must not hold back.

“Instead we need to go there with a winning mentality and showcase what we’ve got. I strongly believe we will walk away with the win.”

Having been in charge of only their last three matches where they won one, lost won and drew one, United coach Ashwin Sutton is rallying behind his charges to put on a good show at Bloemfontein Celtic’s slaughter house.

“Look, I have only been here for about six weeks now and the talent that I have seen here has been amazing,” the former African Warriors coach and Maritzburg United assistant coach said.

“The boys are ready for Pirates and will definitely surprise a few people and hopefully end up being the surprise package of the tournament,” Sutton said.

With the Sea Robbers firing on all cylinders, Sutton is expecting some of his players who have campaigned in the PSL to carry the team against a tough Bucs outfit.

“Well, players like Thembile Kanono, Junior Khanye and Lungisani Ndlela will play a key role in our plans. I expect them to carry the team and keep the heads calm when things get tough out there,” he said.

“However, when all that is said and done all my guys will have to put on a man-of-the-match performance to outwit this strong Orlando Pirates side.”

First Division Witbank Spurs and Premiership relegation strugglers Mpumalanga Black Aces meet in tomorrow’s tie, which doubles as a derby for the football fans of Mpumulanga.

Both sides’ coaches agreed that pride is a motivating factor for them.

“Bragging rights are on the cards here, and it’s important that we win it for our fans,” said Aces coach Mark Harrison.

“There will be a winner and hopefully it will be us. If you compare us to them, player for player, we have more experienced guys and should come out on top. But we cannot rely on that alone, we have to make it happen on the field and I am sure we will.”

 

NEDBANK CUP LAST-16

Today: Platinum Stars v Vasco Da Gama (Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, 3 pm – live on SABC1), United FC v Orlando Pirates (Seisa Ramabodu Stadium, 8.15 pm – live on SuperSport 4)

Tomorrow: Baroka FC v Moroka Swallows (Peter Mokaba Stadium – live on SABC1), Witbank Spurs v Mpumalanga Black Aces (Puma Rugby Stadium, 3 pm – live on SuperSport 4)

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