Durban - Going up against one of his former coaches, Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Moneeb Josephs admits there will be no friends on the field when they take on Wits at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night, kick-off at 20:15.
‘Slim Kat’, as Josephs is affectionately known by football fans, was at Wits for two seasons from 2006 to 2008 before jumping ship to the Buccaneers. Now going up against his old coach in Roger De Sa, he says he is looking forward to the challenge.
“It is going to be nice going up against him (De Sa) especially considering what he has done for the Wits side and how they are playing at the moment.
“But at the end of the day I want to be putting trophies in my cabinet as does he, so there will be no friendship on the day, we will shake hands afterwards, but during the game there will be a whole lot of bantering going on,” confessed Josephs.
While the Pirates No 1 may feel confident going into the game, not many have forgotten the 3-1 grubbing the Buccaneers suffered at the hands of Students in a league match only a couple of weeks ago.
In that game, however, Pirates were without their captain Lucky Lekgwathi and veteran striker Benni McCarthy, both missing the match due to suspension. Both will return to the fray for the final.
Nonetheless, since that loss Pirates have found some form and have managed three wins in a row, one in the semi-final of the Telkom Cup (3-1 over Golden Arrows) and two league matches (1-0 over Ajax Cape Town and most recently 3-0 over SuperSport United).
Still, though, Josephs says they are hurting from the loss to Wits and will be looking for some pay back, “We are going there with our game plan. They hurt us two weeks ago and we want to come back and do the same to them.
“But a cup final is different from a league game. It’s a once off situation and we have to be at our best and give everything for this trophy, and that is what we are prepared to do this weekend.”
At the heart of the students' victory over Pirates was striker Ryan Chapman who scored a brace in that match, but going into this game he does not think it will have any bearing on the result.
“We are not expecting any backlash. We are just going to concentrate on ourselves and focus on our own game. We are not too worried about them.
“We are confident going into the game, all the guys are on a high after our recent performances and everyone is looking forward to the Cup final,” said the softly spoken Chapman.
Wits have been in some fine form having gone five games unbeaten, four in the league and one in the cup. Their most recent result was a 2-2 draw with Arrows and Chapman felt they let that game get away from them but at least some of their fringe players got a run.
“I thought we had a decent game. The first half we were all over them (Arrows). In the second half we struggled a little bit, but a lot of players are also out and some of the other guys who haven’t been playing for a while got an opportunity and that is good,” said the Wits striker.
Looking at Saturday’s Telkom Cup final Chapman is hoping to find the back of the net yet again, but is more concerned with his side winning, “I would obviously like to score, but first and foremost I must help my team win the trophy. That will make me the happiest.”
In conclusion, Orlando Pirates’ Josephs knows it will be a tough game and believes the team with the more passion will win, “We know tactically Wits is a very astute team and they are preparing just as hard as we are, but at the end of the day it is who wants it more.”