Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic says “half of our mind was focused on next Saturday against Kaizer Chiefs” in the cup clash against Black Leopards. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

It’s the biggest game in the country and one of the biggest on the continent.

Orlando Pirates versus Kaizer Chiefs brings South Africa to a standstill, and most certainly Soweto , where the FNB Stadium will be jam-packed for Saturday’s Absa Premiership clash between the two giants of local football.

Both teams come off victories in the Telkom Knockout at the weekend, with the Buccaneers having an easier passage to the quarter-finals after beating Chippa United 1-0 on Saturday night.

Chiefs had to go through extra time and a penalty shoot-out to see off Black Leopards 4-2 after it ended 1-1 following 120 minutes of action.

But now it’s all about the big showdown this weekend, and Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic says his players will know what’s at stake.

“We need to establish consistency, especially in a club of this magnitude. You win, normal. You draw, question mark. You lose, revolution…

“So, living under that, we are looking to take all the pressure and stress and tensions to us as coaches, and let the players unlock their legs and express themselves,” the Serbian said at the post-match press conference.

Sredojevic was not entirely happy with the performance Pirates dished out against Chippa, though – Vincent Pule having grabbed the winner on the hour-mark at Orlando Stadium.

“We don’t want to hide behind the fact that we have been on the Fifa break, or that half of our mind was focused on next Saturday against Kaizer Chiefs,” the coach said.

“Everybody knows what the derby means, and to keep a clean-sheet in the week before is good. But in the same moment, we cannot be blind to what happened on the field.

“We walked a very tight rope, but I want to give credit to our players (for winning).

“We managed to score the goal (to win), where usually we are dropping down in the second half.

“Everything was so tight against a good, organised team in Chippa United.

“If we do not look critically and keep ourselves blind, and think everything was perfect, then we can hit the wall in front of 90 000-plus people next Saturday.

“We have one week, and there is no better motivation than winning, and still having things to work on.”



IOL Sport