/ 8 December 2011

Clever Boys ready to take on Orlando giants

Eric Tinkler is relishing the underdog status that BidVest Wits will take into the Telkom Knockout final against Orlando Pirates in Durban on Saturday.

The Clever Boys will be bidding for a second title in less than two years after they lifted the Nedbank Cup in 2010, and they will enter the game on the back of a convincing 3-1 victory over the Buccaneers in a Premiership match last month.

“It’s good to be the underdog, and you are always going to be when you’re up against a big club like Orlando Pirates,” Tinkler, the Wits assistant coach, said on Thursday.

“But everybody has seen in the PSL, any team can beat anybody … it’s all about being consistent on the day.”

Organisers confirmed on Thursday that tickets for the clash at Moses Mabhida Stadium were sold out.

While Wits came out on top a few weeks ago, the Buccaneers were without several of their key players due to injury or suspension — including Lucky Lekgwathi, Andile Jali and Benni McCarthy — and Tinkler believed Pirates would be a different proposition.

“It’s going to be very, very difficult, obviously,” Tinkler said.

“Pirates have a few of their regulars back into the starting line-up, but we are prepared for that … I think the fact that we beat them in the league is extra motivation for the boys and hopefully we can repeat that experience.”

The former Bafana Bafana midfielder said he and head coach Roger de Sa would have no trouble motivating their side ahead of the last hurdle after they defeated AmaZulu, Jomo Cosmos and Santos in their run to the Cup final.

“What I do know is that every time we’ve played against the big clubs — Chiefs, Sundowns or Pirates — it’s been very easy for Roger and myself to motivate the players,” he said.

“The players are extremely motivated themselves to go out and prove their quality and standard.”

Pirates’ assistant coach Tebogo Moloi, on the other hand, believed all the pressure was on Wits.

“I don’t think we’ll be under pressure as much as Wits will be after they beat us in the league,” Moloi said.

“They’ll be coming here with a lot of expectation and it will be up to us to stop them.”

The Soweto giants, who won three titles last season and finished runners-up in the same competition in 2010, will be eager to bag the elusive trophy.

“We have a lot of experienced players and they have many youngsters, so we will need to use this experience to our benefit,” he said.

“If we can concentrate and show determination for the 90 minutes, there is no reason why we can’t win.” — Sapa