Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates will be seeking a morale-boosting victory when they take on Santos in the Nedbank Cup at Athlone Stadium on Friday, midfielder Daine Klate said in Johannesburg.
“At the moment team confidence is very low,” Klate said on Wednesday.
“Our problem is more psychological than anything else. We’ve dropped in our performance and have to assess the real reasons why. We seem to have a fear of losing games at the moment.
“This game presents us an opportunity to turn things around for the team. Going there and winning against Santos is very important and I hope we can go all the way and win the cup.”
The Caf champions league finalists are going through a slump in form and with new coach Vladimir Vermezovic at the helm, the team was looking to turn around its fortunes.
In recent league encounters, Pirates lost 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs at the weekend and played to a 1-1 draw against Mpumalanga Black Aces on Tuesday.
They survived a serious scare from First Division outfit Thanda Royal Zulu in the first round of the cup competition, to win 3-1 on penalties after the match had ended 3-3 at full-time.
The Buccaneers had endured a busy season having played in three cup finals – the MTN8, CAF Champions League and Telkom Knockout – coming off second best in all of them.
The Pirates midfielder said it would be a catastrophe for them to lose another cup final, but feared fatigue was taking its toll on the team.
“It has been a hectic schedule for us, every second, third day we played a game and all we focused on is recovery.
“Since I got to Pirates, the club has played non stop. We’ve played champions league, we’ve played every single cup final. That in itself has worked against us at this point in time. Most of us are feeling fatigued and tired.
“You look at a player like Oupa Manyisa, I feel so sorry for him. I looked at him yesterday, you can see he’s trying, the mind wants to do it but the body is not there anymore because he’s played so many games.
“But we’re professionals we have to keep going – we have to be machines.”
After 21 games played in the league, Pirates trailed log leaders Kaizer Chiefs by 12 points. And with their hopes of bagging the league title quickly fading, Klate said it was important they focused on winning the cup competition, with an immediate focus on overcoming their nemesis Santos.
“We don’t have a good history against Santos in Cape Town. The season they got relegated, they beat us 3-0 so it’s going to be a difficult trip for us.
“It’s going to be about how well the guys have recovered from the game we played on Tuesday and how much effort we can give against Santos.
One thing for sure is that they’re going to come out and give their all to beat us and, if we cannot match that, we’re going to fall short.
“So the only thing we can focus on is to match their effort during the game and with our quality we can overcome them.”
The match kicks off at 6pm. – Sapa