Soccer

Arrows target Bucs confidence

2011-11-24 14:17
Katlego Mashego (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Golden Arrows striker Katlego Mashego says the team will target the fragile confidence levels of Orlando Pirates when the clubs meet in the Telkom Knockout semi-final in Durban on Saturday.

The Buccaneers, who won the treble last season, have looked well below their best in 2011/12 and are currently sitting in eighth position on the Absa Premiership log although they did win the MTN8 title earlier in the campaign.

They were dismantled 3-1 by Wits on Saturday and Mashego is determined to add to their woes at the Moses Mabhida Stadium this week.

"In football you have to capitalise on weaknesses, so wherever we feel they are a little bit vulnerable, we have to pick on those areas," said Mashego.

Pirates are also among the league’s poorest goal-scorers with just 10 goals in their 11 games.

They lost key defender Happy Jele for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury against the Students.

"It will need a full team effort on our part, but if we all come to the party on the day then I know we can come up with the result," said the former Pirates forward.

"They're a bit shaky now obviously and are a bit unstable too.

"They lost Happy, one of their best players, and it will be a blow to them."

Mashego is not expected to start the game, but will be a key player if the game goes beyond 90 minutes as his experience could turn out to be vital for a club that is not too familiar with success.

Their only previous major trophy was the MTN8 title in 2009, while a poor start to this season has already led to a managerial change -- Muhsin Ertugral has taken over from Ernst Middendorp.

"It’s always special playing against your former club, but it’s not as important as the result," said Mashego, who joined Abafana Bes'thende at the start of the season.

"When I was there, we had plenty of success and you obviously want to take that champion mentality to other clubs.

"I’m looking to carry that to this team and help them qualify for the final."

Pirates' coach Julio Leal is adamant that their current blip in form is nothing more than being "part of the process" as he comes to grips with a club he took charge of at the start of the season.

He called on his detractors to forget the loss to Wits and focus only on the future.

"I’m an optimist. I don’t live in the past and I think we all need to move on," said Leal.

"After the Wits game, we spoke as a team.

"Personally, it was the worst performance for the team since I arrived here. The players know that.

"This weekend we play Arrows. It’s a cup game and we need to focus.

"They have some good players and we respect them a lot."

The winner of Saturday’s semi-final will face either Wits or Santos, who meet on Sunday afternoon in Johannesburg.

Read more on:    telkom knockout  |  katlego mashego
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