Youngsters to give Baroka a boost in Nedbank Cup semi
CAPE TOWN - Baroka FC’s primary objective in Saturday’s Nedbank Cup semi-final against Bloemfontein Celtic at Orlando Stadium will be to field a team that can function as a unit.
Coach Dylan Kerr has promoted five players from the ranks of the club’s MultiChoice Diski Challenge squad, and his priority will be to ease one or two of them seamlessly into Saturday’s starting line-up.
The rookies will bring a measure of confidence into the squad - judging by the mood they displayed in a video at training over the weekend.
On matchday, however, Kerr will have to ensure a sense of calm suited to the big stage and all the pressure that comes with cup football.
These players will provide reinforcements after Baroka released Kamogelo Mogaswa, Ranga Chivaviro, Mogau Khwinana and Tebogo Sodi in recent weeks.
New signing, striker Lungelo Nguse from the ABC Motsepe League Eastern Cape club Bizana Pondo Chiefs FC, will be in the squad but will only be available for selection next season.
He should, however, benefit from the novel experience of being part of a Premiership squad.
Kerr is likely to stick to his preferred 4-4-2 formation, and that should help the players to cope with the specific game plan for this match.
Baroka are presently five places below Bloem Celtic on the Absa Premiership log, and five points adrift.
The log statistic that will mostly interest Kerr is that Celtic have conceded 33 goals against Baroka’s 21. Kerr may well sense an air of vulnerability in Celtic’s rearguard and an area worth targeting.
The team’s spin doctors will no doubt also remind the players that Baroka surprised friend and foe alike when they defeated the highly fancied Orlando Pirates in the 2018 Telkom Cup final at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth.
With that historical feat in the back of their minds, Baroka will no doubt run out inspired for Saturday’s 2pm semi-final clash.
A good showing in the match could also help Bakgakga’s league ambitions. The club are fighting for survival in the Absa Premiership as they currently lie 13th in the standings, only three points clear of bottom of the log side Black Leopards and level on points with AmaZulu, who reside in the relegation play-off spot on 23 points.
Victory this weekend will no doubt boost their confidence ahead of the Premiership restart next week, adding another incentive to their play.