Pirates look to end cup heartbreak

By Drum Digital
06 December 2013

Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa says he is looking to make it third-time lucky, when the Buccaneers take on Platinum Stars in the final of the Telkom Knockout on Saturday.

"It's always great for the fans and for the players to be in a final," De Sa said as the Sea Robbers conclude their preparations ahead of the game.

"You have to get to a final to win the final. We haven't been training this whole week because we're thinking of losing."

De Sa will be under pressure to deliver the goods when the teams meet at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, after they were beaten by Stars in the final of the MTN8, before losing out to Egyptian outfit Al Ahly in the Caf Champions League last month.

The former goalkeeper, however, felt that Pirates deserved praise for reaching every final available to them so far this season.

"In both of our finals, we didn't play badly. We just hope that we can polish up here and there," De Sa said.

"It's important to take the positives (from pervious final defeats) and work with those positives."

Stars lifted the MTN8 title after 120 minutes failed to separate the teams, with the scores locked at 1-1. But Stars would go on to edge De Sa's team 3-1 on penalties.

De Sa added that the Soweto giants had put plenty of work into anticipation of another shootout, insisting though, that he hoped the game would not go that far.

"I hope it doesn't have to go that far, but if it does, I hope that we've done enough preparation to overcome that.

"It's not that we want to go to penalties. I don't think anyone takes out car insurance because they want to crash their car or have it stolen. You take out insurance in case... and we do the same. We practise penalties, we do it all the time."

De Sa shrugged off any suggestions that he and his team were feeling the heat from their supporters, who have seemingly grown tired of finishing second in major knockout competitions.

"Because we've had a full week of training without any games, we've been able to prepare properly. The pressure that we put on ourselves is greater than supporters, media, directors and whatever else.

"We know we can't just pitch up. We have a job to do."

In a week filled with denials of being favourites from both sets of players, Dikwena coach Allan Freese refused to deviate from the pattern, calling Stars "a little team" who had no right to be called favourites.

"Platinum Stars are a small team, how can we be favourites?" Freese said jokingly.

"Pirates have participated in bigger tournaments than we have. Saturday will be a new ball game. Yes we beat them in the last game, but to say we're going to go out there and beat them won't work.

"I'm going to say that we'll go out there and give it our best."

The Premier Soccer League announced on Thursday that the winner of the Knockout tournament would be awarded R4 million in prize money, while the runners-up would receive R1.5m.

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