The biggest hurdle facing Orlando Pirates ahead of Saturday’s MTN final against Moroka Swallows at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium (8.15pm) will be their right frame of mind.
That’s the opinion of Bucs’ experienced goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs who pulled no punches on Wednesday when he said the Birds will pose different problems to those they faced in the 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-final, second leg played at the FNB Stadium last weekend.
Bucs won the two-legged tie 2-1 on aggregate.
‘We must not go in against Swallows thinking we have done the job. There is still a tough final ahead. Swallows are a side that have earned plenty of respect and are capable of giving any side problems, especially in a Cup final.
“So we will have to be focused and not think that after beating Chiefs, we have won the final. Our minds must be on Swallows and not Chiefs.”
But Josephs is confident the 10-year trophy drought is about to end for Pirates. The Buccaneers last won a major cup competition in 2000.
‘The pressure is not going to be a factor. What will be is our drive, hunger and passion to win this trophy.
“We are up for the challenge and determined to finally make our fans happy.”
His captain and key defender, Lucky Lekgwathi, stressed that the match against Chiefs was history and that Pirates defenders would make Birds coach Rainer Zobel eat his words after the German born coach said this week the Pirates defence was vulnerable.
Said Lekgwathi: ‘We will prove the Swallows coach wrong by doing our talking on the field. We are fired up and know what winning this final means to the fans and the club.”
Lekgwathi was part of the side that were beaten 2-1 by Ajax Cape Town in the 2008 Telkom Knockout final and wants a winner’s medal this time.
‘There will be no repeat of losing another major final. We have worked too hard to get this far to let it slip in the final hurdle.”
It will be the first Cup final for budding midfield star Andile Jali, who joined Bucs from First Division side Pretoria University at the start of last season.
Said the 20-year-old who is also blossoming at Bafana Bafana level: ‘I am excited and believe we have a better side than Swallows. But that does not mean we should disrespect them.
“But the spirit in the camp is high after beating Chiefs and we believe in our ability to win this trophy.” — Sapa