Bucs gear up for Telkom Knockout final

Orlando Pirates are determined to give their fans an early Christmas present by beating Kaizer Chiefs in Saturday night’s Telkom Knockout final at the FNB Stadium. Kick-off is at 8.15pm.

The Buccaneers have added incentive to lift the trophy in what promises to be a mouth-watering Soweto derby, with the added bonus of bagging two cups in a row after winning the MTN8 last month.

The last time Pirates won two cups in a season was back in 1978 when they lifted the BP Top Eight and Sales House Cup, but according to spokesperson Mickey Modisane, they have never won two successive cup competitions.

There is also the matter of revenge after Chiefs sunk Pirates 3-1 in a league fixture at the same venue earlier this month.

Pirates coach Ruud Krol and his players, however, are not going to be lulled into a false sense of security after Amakhosi were stunned 3-2 by newly promoted Vasco da Gama in a league clash, also played at Soccer City at the weekend.

Pirates warmed up with a gutsy 2-1 won over Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium in their weekend league fixture, after they defeated Maritzburg 3-1 last weekend in the Knockout semifinal played in Durban.

“We are not reading anything into Chiefs’ loss to Vasco as this is a whole new ball game,” said Modisane on Monday. “Firstly it is a Soweto derby, secondly it is a Cup final and also we have to set the record straight after our 3-1 defeat in the league.

“So we are determined that Christmas will start early for our fans with a double bonus of beating Chiefs and winning our second successive final.”

Plenty of depth
Modisane said the mood in the Pirates camp has been lifted by the 2-1 win over Maritzburg last Friday night in Pietermaritzburg.

“We rested a couple of players and those who came in showed a hunger, and now we have added competition for places, which is a healthy sign as we head into the final.”

Krol rested his two wingers, Daine Klate and Dikgang Mabalane, plus right back Rooi Mahamutsa. He also drafted utility player Oupa Manyisa into a defensive midfield role against United.

Midfielders Teko Modise and Phenyo Mongala replaced Klate and Mabalane.

However, it was Modise’s first match in over a month and he looked short of match sharpness.

“The way we played and beat Maritzburg augers well. The players really played their hearts out and showed we have plenty of depth,” said Modisane.

“It will be an interesting week at training with players fighting hard to impress the coach to get a start in what will be our biggest Cup final for years. We aim to make the most of this and use it as the vehicle to not just win the Cup, but set the record straight against Chiefs.” — Sapa

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