Johannesburg – Allan Freese says Orlando Pirates’ continental achievements have earned them the respect of Platinum Stars ahead of Saturday’s MTN8 final in Durban.
Stars gained their place in the final on Tuesday evening with a comfortable aggregate win over Bidvest Wits and will now seek a first ever top eight title when they take on Roger de Sa’s Buccaneers.
“We have to respect Pirates, they are in Africa,” said Freese after the victory over the Clever Boys.
“We will look at how they play and plan accordingly.”
Pirates edged out Kaizer Chiefs after a 1-1 draw at FNB Stadium on Tuesday, and Freese said he was not disappointed that Dikwena did not get a shot at revenge over the Amakhosi, who beat them 2-1 in the Absa Premiership last weekend, and pipped them to the league title last season.
“I can’t choose who we are going to meet,” he said.
“Before the start of play we already knew who we were going to play. It wasn’t a secret.”
Stars were in the pound seats going into Tuesday’s game, holding a 4-2 lead from the first leg of the semifinal in Phokeng. And they were rarely troubled by Wits, who lacked punch in attack throughout.
Dikwena effectively sealed the tie through Robert Ng’ambi’s second-half strike, and though Denver Mukamba did grab an equaliser for Wits, Ng’ambi’s second of the game sealed a two-legged rout for Stars.
Gavin Hunt’s assertion that Wits “did everything” and “had enough chances” on Tuesday didn’t really ring true, though the Wits coach was more realistic in criticism of his side’s performance.
“Our mentality has to change, the difference was that when they played the ball up front, it stuck,” said Hunt.
“I think we overplay all the time and that is why we haven’t been winning. We play too much football. We need to use the width of the pitch a bit more and in the final third take our chances to put it in the box.
“We need to play in the wide areas. We play across the face of goal and we overplay, back and around, it is all very nice, but nice will win you nothing.”
It did seem peculiar that Hunt left his top scorer for the season, Ethiopian Getaneh Kebede, on the bench for a game in which Wits had to score at least twice.
Kebede came on for the second half, but the Wits coach claimed he was injured.
“He wasn’t fit, I thought balls to the wall in the last (half), give him a chance and we’ll see how we go,” said the Wits coach.