Leopards want to end Baroka fairytale

2011-05-12 13:36

Black Leopards aim to end Baroka FC’s fairytale run in the Nedbank Cup when they clash in the competition’s second semifinal at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday.

Leopards, who play in the first division, have already reached the play-offs that could see them return to the Premiership next season.

But firstly they will look to overcome Vodacom League side Baroka, who beat premiership heavyweights Moroka Swallows and Kaizer Chiefs to reach the last four.

Leopards came close to clinching the cross-division cup title two seasons ago when they lost to eventual winners Swallows in the semifinals of the R6-million knockout competition.

“The guys are so happy to be at this stage,” said Leopards captain Robert Ng’ambi.

“We look at it as an amazing achievement for a first division team to be here.

“After missing out two years ago this is our best chance of making up for it and we will respect Baroka.

We will be banking on the fact that we have more experience than them and will have to keep things simple on the day.”

There is history at stake for Baroka who, if victorious, will become the first third-tier outfit to reach a cup final since the inception of the professional league in 1985.

“Nobody gave us a chance and we had initially targeted at least a quarter-final place,” said Baroka coach Sello Chokoe.

“We had to beat two traditionally big teams in Swallows and Chiefs, and those players underestimated us because they gave us space to play.”

The modest but enthusiastic club has already offered an incentive of R3 million – half the prize money – to the players if they are successful in lifting the trophy.

If they reached the last round, Chokoe said they hoped to meet Orlando Pirates who play Mpumalanga Black Aces in the first semifinal on Saturday.

Chokoe added that his team will carry enough ammunition to beat the Buccaneers and complete a perfect record against the original Big Three of South African soccer.

“I was actually disappointed not to have drawn Pirates in the semis,” said Chokoe.

“You have to beat the best to be the best but I am confident that we will be meeting them in the final.”

The match kicks off at 3pm.

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