JOHANNESBURG – It’s do or die for both SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates in today’s Nedbank Cup final at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm).
With Matsatsantsa a Pitori on the verge of achieving greatness by being the first PSL side to defend their Nedbank Cup title in these last nine years, and Orlando Pirates desperate to make up for what has been an awful season in a year where they are set to celebrate their 80th anniversary, former captains of both clubs give their insights as to what they think will transpire in tonight’s all-important match.
Former Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi:
“Stuart Baxter is very good with transition play and Pirates need to be watchful of that. That’s what made him a big success during his stint at Kaizer Chiefs. He knows how to park the bus and catch his opponents on a counter when they least expect it.
“I spoke to Oupa Manyisa leading up to one of their friendly matches, as they were preparing for tonight’s clash, and told him that they really need to win this one for our fans.
“I remember back in 2013/14, when we went through a bad patch as a club as well. We lost in three cup finals (2013 Caf Champions League, Telkom Knockout and the MTN8), and those results served as a motivation for us to do well in our last game of the season against Bidvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup final. We beat them 3-1.
“This group of players need to remind themselves of that campaign as well. A win in this tie would see them redeeming themselves in what has been a very tough season for them. I’m expecting Pirates to go all out on attack, while being extra vigilant at the back.
“Past experiences, especially playing against Baxter, has taught them to never lose their shape at the back each time they launch an attack. And I trust that Pirates fans will be forgiving should they win this tie.”
Former SuperSport United captain Ricardo Katza:
“It’s an open secret that the coach (Stuart Baxter) wants to leave on a high, with this serving as his last game at SuperSport. A win in this tie, against a side which they beat in last season’s Nedbank Cup final, would see us become the first team to defend this trophy for the first time in years.
“This is a chance for the lads to make history for the club and themselves. But then again, it will depend on how bad they want it.
“Another thing that SuperSport need to be watchful of is that Pirates will approach this game like a wounded tiger. They’ve been in a situation before where they’ve had to fight for a positive outcome after having endured a very bad season.
“They’ll be driven for a win this time around as well, especially after what happened in their encounter against SuperSport in mid-season (Pirates lost 6-1 against Matsatsantsa in a league tie). They know how to do that.
“I’m expecting Baxter to play the patient game like he normally does, while waiting for a perfect opportunity to pounce on those scoring opportunities they’ll create.
“Yes, I’m part of Team SuperSport, but this is one encounter I cannot come out and boldly declare that we are going to win. It’s going to be tough. Both sides want it.”