JOHANNESBURG - Ayanda Gcaba admits it will take a stretch and a half for Orlando Pirates to come out with a win when they host Baroka FC in an Absa Premiership clash at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off 7.30pm).

Gcaba, who was speaking at the official draw of the Nedbank Cup semi-final in Randburg on Monday, said it was crucial that his side fight for maximum points in this tie if they are to enhance their chance of finishing in the top eight at the end of the season.

“A whole lot of people are talking about us being relegated (by the end of this season), but I know that simply won’t happen,” Gcaba, pictured, said. “Our focus is set on finishing in the top eight, which I believe we will achieve.

“We’ll just have to take it one game at a time. We take on Baroka (tonight), who are definitely not an easy side to play against.

“This is one of those matches where we will have to be vigilant until the very end for a result. We’ve just played 120 minutes in the Nedbank Cup quarter-final clash on Saturday. We just have to regroup and focus and push for another win.”

The 31-year-old defender, who produced a Man-of-the-Match performance in their 2-1 win against Bloemfontein Celtic at the weekend, said that it felt good to be back in the team again after having missed the better part of the first round with no game time.

Gcaba attributed his recent fine form in the Sea Robbers’ rearguard to his coach, Kjell Jonevret, whom he said showed great belief in him when he first arrived at the club.

“I missed a whole lot of games in the first round of the season and so, going into the second round, I just told myself that I have to work even harder so that I can break into the team again,” Gcaba said.

“When coach Kjell arrived, he told me he had seen a few videos of us playing and that (from his observations) he had full confidence in me that I could do a job (for him).

“He told us to go out there and play with greater confidence, while enjoying ourselves. And I’ve been playing week-in and week-out since.

“My confidence is now back and it’s growing game by game.”

Meanwhile, Gcaba said his side are in the mood to reach this season’s Nedbank Cup final when they travel to KwaZulu Natal to lock horns with Lamontville Golden Arrows in the final four of the country's premier cup competition.

The Nedbank Cup remains Pirates' only chance of walking away with some silverware in a season of their 80th anniversary celebrations.

“This is the only trophy that’s left for us to win this season,” Gcaba said.

“The league title is out of our reach. We must finish in the top eight while keeping an eye on reaching the Nedbank Cup final.

“We are aware that Arrows are not going to be an easy side to beat.

“They have a direct approach in the way they play.

“We need to make sure we prepare well and have that hunger if we are to see ourselves in the final.

“We owe it to our supporters to go all the way," said the defender.


The Star

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