Brazilians wary of Clever Boys

2012-03-23 11:13

Premier Soccer League pacesetters Mamelodi Sundowns will be wary of a wounded Bidvest Wits side when they travel to Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg for their Nedbank Cup Last 16 encounter on Sunday.

The Brazilians have a fully fit squad for the match while the Clever Boys have been struck down by injury.

And while Wits are coming off two successive league losses, Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens believed those performances would have no effect on the outcome of the cup clash.

“Every game is different. You can face a team who win six games in a row, which was the case with Ajax Cape Town, and then all of a sudden they lose twice in a row, and that is football,” Neeskens said.

“So Wits are not bad now. They could actually be even more motivated to do well against us.”

Despite numerous injury concerns, Wits coach Roger de Sa said the hosts would need to perform.

“We have about eight or nine injuries, but we can’t make excuses about players that are injured. Everybody has their own problems,” De Sa said.

“We have to put a couple of kids in the team, but that’s the way it is and we just have to go and face them. That’s also why you carry a squad of 25, 26 players.”

De Sa believed the visiting side’s focus on their title aspirations would not hinder their cup ambitions.

“They’re still a quality team. Even if you play them in a training match they’re going to come at you. That’s the quality they have.

“They want to win, like us, every game they play and every competition they take part in. They will come out with their strongest possible side.”

In the first cup game of the weekend, Orlando Pirates face a tricky task against an in-form Free State Stars team.

“Any game is a challenge for a coach, especially with Orlando Pirates being the defending Champions,” said Buccaneers caretaker coach Augusto Palacios.

“We prepare the same for this game as we would for Chiefs or Sundowns.

“On Saturday is a cup game and we need to win the game. On Wednesday it’s a league game and you need three points. You need to approach both games in the same intelligent way.

“You can’t say this is a cup game where you can wait for penalties or extra time. We’re taking this game seriously.”

AmaZulu are at home to Witbank Spurs at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday evening.

Third-tier outfit Roses United will battle it out against Santos at Botshabelo Stadium in Bloemfontein on Sunday for a place in the quarterfinals.

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