Newly promoted Absa Premiership club Vasco da Gama, have a plan up their sleeves to upset title-chasing Kaizer Chiefs when they clash at the FNB Stadium on Saturday in what will be the PSL rookies’ biggest test this season. Kick-off is at 8.15pm.
“We have been working hard preparing for this game and we hope the plan comes together for us on the night. We will not sit back but intend taking the game to Chiefs,” said Vasco assistant coach Tony De Nobrega on Tuesday.
De Nobrega said he and head coach Carlos Das Neves, are reasonably happy with their eight points from as many matches in their first ever season in the top flight, but believe they could have collected more points.
“We dropped some silly points, especially giving away a late goal in a [2-2] draw with Ajax Cape Town recently. Had we not dropped those points we could have been sitting on 12 or 13 at the moment, but we are not complaining as we are learning and improving.”
De Nobrega said the team would want to build on their last win — a 3-1 home victory over AmaZulu. “That was a good result and boosted the players. It has given us confidence ahead of the big clash against Chiefs.”
Telkom Knockout final
De Nobrega, who also worked as a coach with Bloemfontein Celtic, said the team will have nothing to lose and everything to gain in te match. He conceded, however, it will be a massive test and hopefully they can pass it with flying colours.
He also does not not expect Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic to field a weakened side, resting players for Amakhosi’s Telkom Knockout final against arch enemies Orlando Pirates at the same venue on December 4.
“The cup final is a week after our match so I do not think that will affect Chiefs in the slightest. They will play their best side, as they want to win the league as well as the cup.
“Even if they should rest a couple of players, it would not matter as they have such a strong squad.”
De Nobrega said the signing of veteran former Bafana Bafana striker Sibusiso Zuma at the start of the season, had been masterstroke.
Sibusiso Zuma: ‘Brilliant’
“Zuma has been brilliant for us. He leads the line and leads by example both on and off the field. He is a fantastic all round professional.”
Zuma is backed up from an attacking midfield position by former BidVest Wits player Brian Kgafane, but the key to Vasco causing an upset could lie with central defenders François Adams and former Chiefs defender Mokete Tsotsetsi.
What has given Vasco inspiration was their Cape neighbours Santos, who recently defeated Chiefs 1-0 at the Rand Stadium, and then took the Amakhosi to extra time in their Knockout semi-final played in Polokwane at the weekend.
Santos were beaten 1-0 in the Knockout with a 115th minute goal from dangerman Knowledge Musona.
“If Santos can do it, then we will also be up for the challenge. It is going to be a big night for the club and we are looking forward to playing at Soccer City and playing Chiefs in front of what will be a big crowd.” — Sapa