Solomons likes underdog tag
Boebie Solomons (Gallo Images)
Durban - Assistant coach Boebie Solomons believes Bloemfontein Celtic will thrive on the underdog status when they face Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final this week.
The two meet in the tournament showpiece at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday, with the more established Brazilians, one of the country’s biggest clubs, shading the "favourites" status despite their inconsistencies in recent seasons.
"I’ve grown to like the tag underdog over the years, because it means that you got nothing to lose," Solomons told reporters on Thursday.
"There’s less pressure on the players and this is an important element of the game today.
"In the past players would easily handle it, but today the players can’t handle pressure in the same way."
Sundowns have found success difficult to achieve in recent seasons, with their last trophy dating back to 2008.
Solomons believed the Pretoria outfit was still one of the country’s top clubs: "We are building and trying to establish a club in the same mould like Sundowns, like [Orlando] Pirates and like [Kaizer] Chiefs."
"We are very happy to be in a cup final now and it is just on the way to where we want to be.
"We are happy that things are happening for us sooner than what we thought. The club is very happy and excited about being in the cup final.
"Playing against a team like Sundowns-- who we feel is one of the best in Africa and have one of the best squads and resources in Africa - is going to be very exciting."
Clinton Larsen’s Celtic team have been the standout side in the competition and top scorers, with eight goals in their three games.
Their style has won plenty of plaudits. While Sundowns have been banking on defensive solidity, they have yet to concede a goal.
Solomons felt that the key to winning the trophy on Saturday would be the counter-attacks.
"I think that Johan Neeskens, being a Dutchman, their philosophy is to attack and to play fast, quick football going forward," he said.
"They’ve got the type of players to do that. I feel by them doing that, they would leave some gaps.
"I think that it can be their undoing, and in essence, the counter-attack is possibly the best way to overcome them."