Tuks ready to teach Cosmos a cup lesson

Last season’s Nedbank Cup giant killers Pretoria University are aiming for another history-making run in the competition this year.

Tuks showed they are starting to get their act together in time for an assault on the trophy after whipping newly-promoted Premier Soccer League side Vasco da Gama 5-1 at home in the first round last weekend.

Cape Town-based Vasco ended the season as National First Division (NFD) champions. The NFD Coastal Stream champions defeated their Inland Stream counterparts Black Leopards in the two-legged final to gain promotion to the promised land of the Premier Soccer League (PSL). However, they were rocked back on their heels after their embarrassing defeat to Tuks.
The Pretoria students had a poor league season and could only manage fifth place the league, they are ready to shine in the cup.

On Sunday Tuks face Jomo Cosmos at the Rand Stadium in the second round of the competition which offers a massive R6-million for the winner to be crowned on May 23 at Soccer City.

Tuks head coach Steve Barker, who was at the helm when his students defeated three Premiership clubs—Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic and Ajax Cape Town—en route to the 2009 cup final, believes his side are in with a chance of getting past Cosmos.

“Last season we played Cosmos four times. We drew three times in the NFD with all three matches ending 0-0. We managed to beat them 1-0 in the preliminary round of the Nedbank Cup last season so we know what to expect. It is going to be a tough cup-tie.”

‘Cosmos lack quality in attack’
Barker said Cosmos, who have been relegated from the Premiership, are not a bad side.

“The main problem with Cosmos is that they lack quality in attack. They have got the better of a lot of sides in the PSL this season but failed to finish them off and now they have paid the price for not having a killer instinct, having to go back to the First Division.

“After beating Santos away in the last round they will be lifted. But they are not the type of side that will come out and tear us apart.

“They will be strong and physical but we can handle that and beat them by attacking them using flair, skill and pace to get past them.

Barker said he would rather play Cosmos at this stage than Chiefs.

“If we beat Cosmos and reach the quarterfinals, then I do not care who we draw in the last eight.”

Barker said his goal was to win promotion but had to start all over after last season’s success in the Nedbank Cup which derailed his side’s promotion challenge.

Peaking at the right time
“We’ve had a disappointing league season and may be peaking at the right time for the cup. But my priority is to see Tuks promoted hopefully at the end of next season.”

Cosmos have nothing to lose and pride to play for after defeating Santos in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 score after extra time, and will prove tough opponents playing at home.

Tuks will have their defensive strongman and captain Obert Moyo to control the back four. In midfield, the danger man is hat-trick hero Joseph Mthombeni who scored three goals against Vasco and, up front, the Cosmos defence will have to deal with Tuks leading goal scorer Phinda Dlamini.—Sapa

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