Bucs striker eyes early goal to set tone

Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates striker Lennox Bacela says he hopes to use the MTN8, starting this weekend to kickstart his season before the league gets underway in a week’s time.

Last season’s MTN8 runners-up, Pirates face SuperSport United in the quarter-final round at Orlando Stadium on Saturday for a second successive season.

Pirates striker Lennox Bacela says he hopes to use the MTN8, starting this weekend to kickstart his season.Photo: Lefty Shivambu. Credit: Gallo Images

“Come Saturday, we as strikers will end up on the scoring-sheet because it’s important to start the season on a high note,” Bacela said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“It’s important for any striker, when you play in an official game, to get that duck off your back, so it’s important to get a goal.

“Hopefully I will be able to get a goal to get the confidence going forward into the league.”

The Buccaneers under former coach Roger de Sa scraped home following a penalty shoot-out during last season’s quarter-final, before going on to beat Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-finals played over two legs.

However, Pirates crashed in the final after they were beaten by Platinum Stars.

With coach Vladimir Vermezovic now at the helm, Pirates are hoping the Serbian mentor can build on a positive conclusion to last season where he guided them to Nedbank Cup glory.

Vermezovic has never won the top eight cup – reserved exclusively for the top-eight Premiership finishers from the previous season Ä and the former Kaizer Chiefs coach said he was hungry for more success with his new club.

“I’ve won two cups – the Nedbank Cup and the Telkom Knockout – and it was my first Nedbank Cup with Pirates, I hope this MTN8 can also be my first,” Vermezovic said.

The Soweto giants beat arch-rivals Chiefs on penalties last weekend to lift the fourth edition of the Carling Black Label Cup, but now have their first opportunity at the season’s first major trophy.

“We are very close and the players worked very hard on this pre-season,” he said.

“I don’t know for sure who will play against SuperSport but we are going to make changes.”

Vermezovic said he was pleased with the pre-season build-up and was looking forward to his first full season in charge, having joined the Buccaneers midway through their last campaign.

“I saw a lot of positives things from my players. They don’t want to lose, even in training and small practise games, that is good for me.

“We have good mentality, there are no questions about that. I’m with these guys every day.

“I’m completely satisfied with our performance against Kaizer Chiefs because two days before we had a very hard training. There are 10 days until the start of the league.” – Sapa

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