KZN teams have tough task in #TKO
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Amazulu and Maritzburg United are looking to make homeground advantage count when they host Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals this weekend.
Usuthu welcome the Buccaneers to the Moses Mabhida Stadium tonight (6pm) while later at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Maritzburg, the Team of Choice will entertain Wits.
It remains to be seen, however, just how confident the two teams will be given that they both go into these matches on the back of defeats.
Last weekend, AmaZulu were hammered 3-0 at Cape Town City while Maritzburg were humbled 1-0 by Polokwane City at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.
AmaZulu are trophyless in 26 years while Maritzburg are still searching for their maiden title in top flight football. They are up against big guns who are brimming with confidence.
It will take an extraordinary effort for the pair to send the Gauteng giants going back to the Highveld with their tails between their legs.
Wits are on the summit of the Absa Premiership and Pirates are behind them in second spot. The Clever Boys are defending champions of the Telkom Knockout and they won’t relinquish their title easily, especially not in the form that they are in. Maritzburg will have to dig deep and show intensity, tenacity, verve and composure in-front of goals if they are to emerge victorious. Under coach Gavin Hunt, Wits have turned into a force in the local game and have already reached three cup finals in the last four seasons, winning two of those.
Fadlu Davids’ team are up against a side that is used to doing well in knockout competition.
They need to bring back the magic that saw them reaching the semifinals of the MTN8 and the final of the Nedbank Cup last season if they are to dethrone Wits. AmaZulu are also facing a mammoth task of ending Pirates’ eight game unbeaten streak across all competitions.
Pirates are hungry to end their barren run of four years with a trophy.
If there’s one cup that has eluded them in their history, it is the Telkom Knockout. They have only won it once - under the guidance of Julio Leal in 2011 at Moses Mabhida Stadium – at the expense of Wits.
The Buccaneers will be looking to turn their dominance into silverware, something that Usuthu will not allow to happen easily. They will have a huge say.
Usuthu have been difficult to beat at ‘home’ at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi, but they have lost that advantage as this match will be at Moses Mabhida after a League ruling.