Johannesburg – A bigger mismatch seldom occurs like the Telkom Knockout contest between Kaizer Chiefs and Polokwane City on Saturday, but Amakhosi coach Stuart Baxter believes the struggling side could well be a difficult assignment.
Struggling Polokwane – beaten five times in six outings in the league so far this season – host the Soweto giants at Peter Mokaba Stadium, but Baxter's troops will be guarded about becoming complacent against their less-fancied foes.
“With no disrespect to Polokwane City, we know that Bradford City was below everybody else by three divisions and made it to the Cup final only last year,” said Baxter at a training session in Naturena on Thursday.
“So we can't say they haven't done well in the league so this will be an easy game.
“It will not be an easy game. And probably especially because they haven't done well in the league it won't be easy. This will be a difficult game.”
Chiefs come off a semifinal exit in the MTN8 to Orlando Pirates just over a week ago, and the coach said his side would still be in cup mode.
“You usually get the rhythm of the league interrupted by one cup. Now we've gone from one cup, then rest then cup. We've had a bit of a break to recuperate the players.
“The players are ready for it. There's a little bit of extra desire, they didn't manage to get through to the final of the MTN8, now they'll be hoping to have a good run in this one.”
Having failed to reach the final of the previous cup competition fresh in the memory of Baxter's players, he denied it would heap more pressure on his team.
“When you're at a place like Kaizer Chiefs, Manchester United, Pirates or Glasgow Celtic there's pressure to win every tournament you enter.
“There's pressure on us to win it, and we want to compete. The pressure is always there so there isn't anything extra for this.”
Baxter further explained a winning mentality was the key to winning trophies.
“Preparing yourself mentally for each game at Chiefs is a challenge.
“You have to make sure you're not over-aroused, over-stimulated and therefore not able to perform. The opposite is also true. That's the test for the players every time they go out on the pitch.”
Chiefs could only control their own game, and would prepare for the encounter like any other.
“We should prepare properly for every game regardless of the opposition.
“It's an important game, and it's important every time we take the field. We've been thorough in our preparation.
“I can't affect their preparation, or whoever they have on the bench. We can only control what happens on the field.”
Friday: Wits v Golden Arrows (Bidvest Stadium).
Saturday: SuperSport United v Ajax Cape Town (Lucas Moripe Stadium), Free State Stars v AmaZulu (Goble Park), Moroka Swallows v University of Pretoria (Dobsonville Stadium), Polokwane City v Kaizer Chiefs (Peter Mokaba Stadium).
Sunday: Platinum Stars v Maritzburg United (Moruleng Stadium), Bloemfontein Celtic v Mamelodi Sundowns (Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium).
Tuesday: Black Aces v Orlando Stadium (Mbombela Stadium). – Sapa