Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic is determined to change the fortunes of the Buccaneers this season, following a campaign of near-misses for the Serbian’s new outfit.
Vermezovic is in no mood to play second-fiddle to the rest of the Nedbank Cup contenders this season.
"If we reach this final, I believe we will take the Nedbank Cup," a confident Vermezovic said ahead of Pirates’ semi-final clash with Maritzburg United on Saturday.
"It will be a disgrace for a team of Orlando Pirates calibre to go a season without a trophy, so we will have to win this one."
Known for his astute approach to team structures and disciplined group dynamics, Vermezovic boldly claimed that he "knew how to win finals" after booking Pirates’ place among the top four of the country’s most lucrative cup competition, one of three on offer throughout the season.
Should Pirates reach the final of the Nedbank Cup, Vermezovic’s troops would have played every game available to a team in a scheduled season.
"If we reach the final, this team will have played every single available game in a season. No team has done that," he said.
"I’m hard on my players, but I also believe in them. They can end the season with a trophy.
"The players have reached three finals. If we reach this final it will be a record of playing every tournament to the max[imum]."
Formerly with the Sea Robbers' fiercest rivals, Kaizer Chiefs, the 50-year-old gained the respect of local clubs plying their trade in the Premiership, where he guided Amakhosi to two cup victories, but never to Nedbank Cup honours.
"The truth is that I speak too much sometimes, but I've won two finals in South Africa," Vermezovic added.
"Sure I can win cups, because the fact is that I won two cups here and the guys have reached three finals, but the first step is Maritzburg.
"Sure you want to win the final, but you have to reach it first before you can win it."
Pirates will come up against a United side desperate to improve on their Premiership display this season, occupying 11th place in the standings.
Under new coach Steve Komphela, who took over from embattled former boss Clinton Larsen in January, United have showed signs of improvement and will pose a formidable threat to the visitors.
In Pietermaritzburg, the Team of Choice have done fairly well, claiming half of the available points on offer at Harry Gwala Stadium.
In the other semi-final, Wits host defending champions Kaizer Chiefs for a second time in less than a month.