’Keeper wary of ‘smart’ Students

2010-05-19 00:00

SHOWERED with praises from every corner for his spectacular saves during the penalty shoot-out against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup semi-final clash, AmaZulu goalkeeper Nick Grande does not want to get carried away by the compliments.

Instead, the Argentine goalie cautions his team-mates against being too excited by the occasion when they tackle Bidvest Wits in the final on Saturday afternoon.

Grande, who is in his maiden PSL season from English Championship side Wimbledon, played a crucial role in sending AmaZulu to the final by saving three spot kicks in their 4-3 penalty win.

The impressive performance he dished out at Durban’s Kings Park was not a first — he performed as well in the MTN8 quarter-finals against SuperSport United early last season.

“Of course it’s a nice feeling to have contributed in helping the club reach the final, but I wish we could all concentrate for 90 minutes,” said Grinde.

“We have worked very hard to be where we are now. Thinking about the occasion [playing at Soccer City for the first time] might distract us. As for my performance, I believe there’s still lot of hard work to be put in my game,” the 28-year-old told journalists after a training session at Edgewood College in Pinetown.

Grinde said of Wits, who beat Free State Stars 3-1, “They are a physical side that also play passing football. You have to be smart when coming up against them but I think their number six [Mark Haskins] is dangerous as you saw how he scored that brace.”

And the secret of how he stops the spot kicks? “I just stand on the line fully focused … I don’t believe in moving up and down the line because when you do so, it might be late for you to make a save.”

While striker Dumisani Ngwenya is out for Saturday’s game owing to a suspension, Usuthu coach Neil Tovey will be happy to welcome back defenders Pere Ariwerayi and Marc van Heerden from suspension.

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