Minnows or giant-killers?

2011-04-23 00:00

BAROKA FC will be a largely unknown quantity for Kaizer Chiefs in tomorrow’s Nedbank Cup quarter-final at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

The Vodacom League (third division) team’s 2-1 victory against Moroka Swallows in the previous round indicates they must have some good things going for them, and the minnows will be out to perform a giant-killing act against Vladimir Vermezovic’s trophy-hungry Amakhosi in Polokwane.

In today’s only quarter-final, Premier Soccer League team Vasco Da Gama travel to tricky First Division competitors Black Leopards, also at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Also playing tomorrow are PSL teams AmaZulu and Mpumalanga Black Aces at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi. Aces, guaranteed a last-place finish and already relegated from the top-flight for next season, will be looking for a consolation prize by winning the Nedbank.

On Monday Orlando Pirates complete the quarter-final round when they host Free State Stars at Orlando Stadium.

While Chiefs will be an open book to their third division opponents tomorrow, the Soweto giants have had just the footage from Baroka’s win against Swallows to size up the strengths and weaknesses of the minnows

Amakhosi captain Jimmy Tau said Chiefs, who bounced back to form after a five-match winless streak with a 4-0 thrashing of Wits University in the previous round, need to approach the game with caution.

“They [Baroka] showed their pedigree when they beat Swallows. They certainly have talented players and they are eager to impress. I have no doubt that they will come at us hard,” Tau told the media after a training session at Chiefs’ headquarters at Naturena, outside Soweto.

“We are approaching it like any other game and that is with a must-win attitude. I believe Baroka will be very motivated but we want to win this Nedbank Cup. We owe it to our supporters and to ourselves as it’s been a long season and we want to end it on a good note.”

Chiefs have yet to win the Nedbank Cup in it’s current guise.

Coach Vladimir Vermezovic believes said he is not concerned that Baroka have a greater knowledge of Amakhosi than his side has of their opponents. “I think anyone can guess who will be our starting 11. We all know Valery [Nahayo] is out and that Dominic [Isaacs] will play,” the Serbian said.

“On the day, it’s about who wants it more and we are prepared. We are treating this game like we would any other team in the PSL. We expect it to be a tough encounter.”

Vasco midfielder Cole Alexander said a win for his side against Leopards could help boost the Cape­tonians’ confidence for the league, where they are in third-last place and in danger of going to the promotion/relegation playoffs.

Impressing as a defensive midfielder for Vasco this season, Alexander is set to be recalled from loan by Ajax Cape Town, where he could be converted back to a more attacking role to serve as a replacement for striker Thulani Serero, who is set for a move to Ajax Amsterdam.

“I am confident that we can win the Nedbank Cup because I know we can compete with the biggest teams in South Africa,” Alexander said.

Aces coach Mark Harrison said his side hope to have a good run in the Nedbank because they “have to show something for this season”.

“We are very disappointed at being relegated but this tournament gives us a chance to get some silverware and to salvage some pride,” he said.

FIXTURES

Today: Black Leopards v Vasco Da Gama (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 3 pm – live on SABC1)

Tomorrow: AmaZulu v Mpumalanga Black Aces (King Zwelithini Stadium, 3 pm – live on SABC1), Baroka FC v Kaizer Chiefs (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 3 pm – live on SuperSport 4)

Monday: Orlando Pirates v Free State Stars (Orlando Stadium, 3 pm – live on SABC1 and SuperSport 4)

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