Nedbank Cup final set for electric atmosphere

2014-05-16 00:00

TOMORROW’S Nedbank Cup final between Orlando Pirates and Wits at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium is sold out, with all of the 49 000 tickets that had been put on sale snapped up by yesterday afternoon.

As should be the case in a cup final of this magnitude, it all points towards a likely electric atmosphere tomorrow night as the Buccaneers aim to finish off a largely disappointing season with a trophy to show for their efforts.

Defeated in the finals of the Caf Champions League, MTN8 and Telkom Knock-out before stuttering to a fourth place finish in the PSL, it has been a campaign that has promised much but delivered little for Pirates up until this point. But that can all change tomorrow night with victory, and the club’s assistant manager Eric Tinkler knows that all too well.

“We are a side that should be winning silverware every season and we know that,” Tinkler told a media gathering at Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday. “We need to try and redeem our season. We know the importance of getting a positive result this weekend. The camp is in a good mood and we need to put what has happened in the past behind us.”

Pirates, now coached by former Kaizer Chiefs boss Vladimir Vermezovic, advanced to the final with a 2-1 win over Maritzburg United. In the second half of that match, Bucs turned it on, keeping possession of the ball while moving it quickly into dangerous positions — a trait that was absent nearing the end of the Roger de Sa era. There was a clear hunger to win it that match, and the pressure on the shoulders of every Bucs player tomorrow is something that Wits will be looking to capitalise on.

“It is going to be naturally tough for them. They have a cloud of three final defeats this season hanging over them, and they need to win this desperately,” said Wits assistant coach Paul Johnson.

“We know that we are the underdogs, and we have no problem with that. In fact, we favour it. Our boys will go onto the park without any pressure at all.”

It seems strange that Wits would be considered underdogs, considering that they finished the PSL season in third place against Pirates’ fourth — something Tinkler was quick to point out.

Both sides have fully fit squad to choose from, other than striker Lennox Bacela’s foot injury keeping him out of the Pirates squad.

Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 3 pm.

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