JOHANNESBURG - Teboho Moloi is wary of getting too cocky too soon in such a short time as interim head coach of a Premier League team - the critics are always watching.
But the Chippa United caretaker, unbeaten in the eight matches he’s been in charge of since September, has now set his sights on slaying Kaizer Chiefs, the supposed “cup kings” of South African football, when the two sides meet at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Sunday’s Telkom Knockout quarterfinal.
Buoyed by solid victories over teams that were superior by some distance last season in Cape Town City, Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits in less than two weeks, Moloi wants to carry this momentum into the coming Fifa international break.
This means the Chilli Boys will have to dump Chiefs out of the cup.
“I didn’t change the team that played on Sunday against Sundowns for our game against Wits because I didn’t want the players to think the cup game this weekend is more important,” Moloi said.
“For us it is about being consistent, and for that to happen we need to treat every game the same way. Our win against Sundowns was no child’s play. That was a high intensity game that took a lot out of us and we knew that we would be out of energy in our next game.
"You have to work extremely hard to beat Sundowns in 90 minutes. I didn’t want to refresh the team before the game (on Wednesday) in case I sent the wrong message that we are focusing on the Chiefs match.”
He believes a win against Chiefs in Port Elizabeth will complete the circle in as far as their preparation to play in other continental tournaments is concerned. Moloi has previously spoken of his ambition to lead Chippa into the African safari - the CAF Confederation Cup to be specific.
“I think by beating the African champions (Sundowns) and the SA champions (Wits) in one week maybe we proved we can be consistent enough and we are perhaps ready to play in that space,” Moloi explained.
It is tradition to refer to Chiefs as the “cup kings” in domestic football, but their trophy cabinet remains empty since coach Steve Komphela was appointed more than two years ago.
Moloi, who played for Pirates - who are Chiefs’ biggest rivals - still went with custom by using that term to describe his next opponents.
“It won’t be easy,” he said. “Everyone tells us they are cup specialists, so we have to prepare thoroughly for them.”