Newly crowned Telkom Knockout champions Baroka FC must immediately forget about their historic victory at the weekend and focus on improving their league standings in the Absa Premiership. This was the warning by Bakgaga’s coach Wedson Nyirenda.
The Limpopo outfit face Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday night (7.30pm kick-off), just a few days after Baroka caused a major upset with their defeat of Soweto powerhouse Orlando Pirates in a thrilling TKO final in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
“If you look at the standings we are not in a very good position. We cannot be the champions and start fighting [against] relegation,” Nyirenda pointed out.
Baroka are placed 14th on the Premiership standings with two wins in 12 matches, while Sundowns – third on the log – remains the only unbeaten side in the race so far.
“We need to psych up our players to concentrate on the game against Sundowns,” said Nyirenda of the opposition they eliminated in the quarterfinals of the TKO with a 2-0 bashing earlier this month.
“This will be a game of our lives. We need to get the three points and if we can’t, [at] the least have to get a point.
“We are playing another magnificent team at their home and it’s not going to be easy. They saw us winning this Telkom [Knockout] and they are just going to throw everything at us. Pitso [Mosimane] is a very good tactician.”
It has become a norm for teams that win the knockout cup to lose their next match and Nyirenda does not wish for his champions to suffer the same fate.
“Teams that have won big things go to sleep intoxicated with the gold and they never come back after five years, seven years down the line and you’ll be asking ‘where is that team?’
“African players suffer from succession level. We have to educate these players that this is just the Telkom [Knockout],” he said.
Nyirenda added: “There are big things to win like in CAF – there is Super Cup and the Fifa Club World Cup.”
After tonight’s match, Sundowns will immediately turn their attention to the CAF Champions League where the South African champions will face Ahli Benghazi of Libya on Sunday.
The game will be played in Cairo, Egypt due to unrest in Libya.
Polokwane City vs Highlands Park (Peter Mokaba Stadium)
Free State Stars vs Orlando Pirates (Goble Park)
Cape Town City vs Chippa United (Athlone Stadium)
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Baroka FC (Lucas Moripe Stadium)
*All games kick-off at 7.30pm