Wedson Nyirenda poses with the Telkom Knockout trophy ahead of the their semi-final against Wits. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Wedson Nyirenda came highly recommended and Baroka FC understandably had high expectations of the former Zambian international when they appointed him their coach at the start of the season.

Midway through the season though, and there has been very little to suggest Nyirenda will do for Baroka what he did for club and country back home.

When in Zambia, the erstwhile Kaizer Chiefs striker enjoyed success with Zesco and Zanaco on the club scene well as with the national under-20 and senior teams.

In Polokwane, however, Nyirenda struggles to get Bakgaga firing on all cylinders  especially in the league.

“We didn’t start well but slowly we are starting to find our feet,” Nyirenda said this week as he assessed Baroka’s 12th position on the table.

They have a chance to brighten up their season through the Telkom Knockout competition in which they are a win away from the final.

That victory though has to be achieved against holders Bidvest Wits whom they host at the Peter Mokaba Stadium this afternoon.

On paper it looks like mission impossible for Nyirenda and his team given Wits’ pedigree.

But they have accounted for some big names en route to this afternoon’s tie with the Clever Boys.

Victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in the last round was a huge confidence booster for Bakgaga, says Nyirenda who is pleased they are hosting Wits.

“It is nice that we are playing at home. We’ve done well at home in this competition. We won against Golden Arrows and Sundowns. We want to keep that record going. We know it is not going to be easy against Wits. They want to defend their trophy. So, we have to be at our best,” Nyirenda said.

But with Wits looking to become only the second team after Kaizer Chiefs to win back to back Telkom Knockout titles, Baroka’s task will be pretty tough.

“We want to go into the final. That will be a nice feeling for us.

"I believe we have what it take to be in the final. We are under-dogs and Wits are the favourites. We will go out there and give it our best.

"We want to make our own supporters happy,” he added

With the final some kind of a lottery, the fact it will be against the Soweto giants Orlando Pirates notwithstanding, Nyirenda is urging his team to get over the hurdle that is Wits.

“If we can get in to the final anything can happen,” he explained.

“Of course Wits are a very dangerous side, especially in set plays. We have to be wary of them if we are to progress to the final.”

Beat Wits and Nyirenda will leave the Baroka management justified at having picked him up for the job instead of the many local coaches who were available.

And the Zambian legend would prove that his great success in his native country was no fluke.

Today’s match kicks off at 3pm while the final will be played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on December 8.


Sunday Tribune

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