Confidence is high ahead of Cup final, says Vonk

Kaizer Chiefs captain Jimmy Tau, has warned his players not to underestimate defending champions Ajax Cape Town when the clubs clash in the Telkom Knockout final at Durban´s Absa Stadium on Saturday night. Kick-off is at 8.15pm.

Said the Amakhosi skipper: “Ajax have a different approach to us, but they are a dangerous side.

“You do not reach a cup final without hard work, skill and effort.
Ajax are a side to be reckoned with and this is going to be
a closely fought final.”

His opposite number, Hans Vonk, agrees and hopes the final will produce a lot of goals. But the 40-year-old former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper is also hoping his strikers, Nathan Paulse and Stanton Lewis, are among the goals as they were in the 2-0 win over AmaZulu in the semifinals.

Said Vonk: “We could have scored more goals against AmaZulu as we were well on top of that game.

“Add the fact our strikers are scoring goals, means everything is falling into place at the right time for the club.”

Confidence is high
Vonk said confidence was high and the players were starting to understand what new coach Foppe de Haan wanted from them. De Haan, who worked with Vonk at top Dutch club Heerenveen took charge after the side were beaten 6-0 in the MTN8 final played at the Orlando Stadium last October.

Vonk sportingly praised the performance of Chiefs 38-year-old keeper Arthur Bartman, who has been outstanding for his club in this tournament.

Bartman played a leading role in the 3-0 penalty shootout win over Pirates after the sides drew 0-0 after extra time in their semifinal played at Durban´s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Monday.

But it is Vonk who Vermezovic fears should the match go to penalties.

Also the fact the Urban Warriors had two extra days to prepare was not an issue with Vermezovic who said it would not be an excuse should Amakhosi lose.

But said Vonk: “Maybe having two extra days to prepare gives us a slight edge but then again may not. It is a final and the team that does the business on the day wins.”

‘We have to take our chances’
Vermezovic promised they will attack as they have done in the previous rounds of the tournament. “Only this time I hope we convert the chances we create in front of goals,” he said.

Tau said there was huge expectation on the players’ shoulders going into this final. “Chiefs have a reputation of winning cup competitions and fans expect us to win.

“The players are up for the challenge and while we must not take Ajax for granted, we go into the final confident we can succeed.”

Tau praised the improvement of players—such as attacking midfielder Mandla Masango who scored the only goal in the 1-0 won against Sundowns in the quarterfinals.

“Masango has matured and improved this season. He has a bright future and will have a role to play in the final.”

Tau also backed his coach who he said played a major part in guiding Chiefs to the Knockout final. It will be the Serbian-born coach’s first PSL cup final since taking charge at the start of the season and it would be a huge bonus winning a trophy in his first season in South Africa.

Masango will be playing in his second cup final after playing in the MTN8 final in 2008 in which Chiefs defeated Sundowns in Durban.—Sapa

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