Johannesburg – It’s just as well it was a thumping, not some narrow win, that Maluti FET College handed to Orlando Pirates and dumped them out of the Nedbank Cup on Saturday, according to their coach.
“If it was 1-0, people would be saying we were lucky. But 4-1? You don’t win by that margin through luck,” Maluti coach Morena Ramoreboli said on Sunday.
When the draw was conducted more than a month ago in Johannesburg, Ramoreboli did make the bold prediction that his students, who campaign in the Second Division, would shock Pirates. “They don’t know us. We watch them every week on TV,” Ramoreboli cautioned then, and on Saturday at Charles Mopeli Stadium, his words came to fruition, as Maluti produced one of the biggest upsets of the Nedbank Cup to date, hammering a poor Bucs 4-1.
“Everybody in our college is extremely delighted with this result. I’m also very happy, but to be honest, I was not surprised. I knew the commitment of these players could carry them past any team. We had the right preparation throughout. We played a friendly against Free State Stars and they beat us 2-1. We played three more practice games against African Warriors and we did well. We had a balanced team going into the game against Pirates.”
Ramoreboli says the fact that Pirates fielded a changed line-up, with men such as Bheki Nzunga and Rudolf Bester getting rare starts while the likes of Daine Klate and Lucky Lekgwathi were not even on the bench, should not deny his team their moment in the sun.
“Every player registered for Pirates is good. They are capable of fielding three great sides. We expected changes to their line-up because they didn’t play the same XI in the three games leading to Saturday. But their tactics remained the same, so we planned for them.”
A goal after just 47 seconds from captain Lucky Mokoena set Maluti on their way, with Mashale Rantabane extending the lead after 25 minutes. At 2-0 going into the break, Ramoreboli knew there could only be one result.
“I didn’t panic. I didn’t entertain thoughts of Pirates coming back. I knew if they didn’t score in the first 15 minutes of the second half, we’d win. Fortunately we scored (through Mokoena again) in that period.”
Pirates found a consolation goal from Oupa Manyisa, but Rantabane added the fourth to ensure Bucs suffer their biggest defeat in seven years (they had last let in four goals in an African Champions League defeat to Asec Mimosa, of Ivory Coast, in September 2006).
It was a shock of seismic proportions, the mighty Pirates beaten by a team who have to juggle their training schedule with attending lectures.
“It’s difficult for these boys, but we work our training programme around their school timetable,” Ramoreboli explained. “We don’t have a sponsor but we get great support from the college.”
Having accounted for Pirates, Maluti have now set sights on the R7-million first-prize in this competition, but they also know the road ahead won’t be easy. “I would prefer if we draw a Free State team and play at home in the next round. But we will be ready for anyone. We planned for this success – we are not getting carried away,” said Ramoreboli, whose side are third-placed in the Second Division and aim to win promotion into the National First Division this year. – The Star