PSL

Last chance for success

2017-06-18 06:11
OUTSTANDING: Abbubaker Mobara has been playing well in the Nedbank Cup. (Chris Ricco, BackpagePix)

Johannesburg - Only victory in Saturday’s Nedbank Cup final against SuperSport United will salvage some of Orlando Pirates’ pride.

On a night of goodbyes as United coach Stuart Baxter takes charge of his side for the last time, a lot is at stake for both sides.

The two have had a season dogged by inconsistency, with both probably feeling they could have finished better when they look at their standings on the log table.

For the Buccaneers and Kjell Jonevret, however, there is perhaps more pressure to win this game than there is for United.

Considering all of the expectations coming into this season, and how much they have fallen short in the league and other competitions, defeat on Saturday would be pitiful on Pirates’ part, and spell another season without a trophy.

Fitting farewell

Baxter, who will want to go out with a bang, has to quickly put his club cap back on for the last time after being appointed Bafana Bafana coach.

His players will want to give him a fitting farewell by winning the Nedbank Cup trophy.

Pirates have to forget about the season they have had as this match is the one to win.

If ever there was a time when Pirates needed a victory, it is on Saturday at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

This could define their season. After failing to qualify for the top-eight competition following their finish in 11th position, Pirates have one last chance to restore some of their dignity this season.

This is the time for the players to show their supporters that they deserve another chance as most will be playing for their future.

Grudge game

Fresh on their minds will be last season’s final, which they lost to the same United. Not only that, United humiliated them 6-1 earlier this season and Pirates will want to avenge that.

As for United, they play two black-and-white clubs in the space of four days – they will warm up for the game against Pirates with a clash against TP Mazembe on Tuesday, who wear the same colours as the Buccaneers.

Pirates seem to have saved their best for this tournament as they have been outstanding so far in the competition with four convincing victories.

But that will count for nothing if they do not win the last trophy on offer.

Pirates will look to the likes of Mpho Makola and Abbubaker Mobara, who have risen to the occasion in this tournament.

United have also done well to reach the final with the likes of Thuso Phala and Jeremy Brockie rediscovering their form.

Young Teboho Mokoena has been outstanding in the middle of the park for United.

CAF Confederation Cup berth

Representing South Africa in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup will be an added incentive for the winner.

Pirates have done well whenever they qualified for the continental competition and were runners-up in 2015, the last time they made the cut.

However, their domestic form has meant no CAF tournaments in the past two years.

United have tasted continental football and will want to go back there next season, particularly with Eric Tinkler, who took Pirates to the final in 2015, in charge.

Will it be a grand adios for Baxter, with United spoiling Bucs’ 80-year anniversary celebrations, or one to forget.

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Cape Town City FC v Baroka FC, Cape Town Stadium 18:00
Wits v Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Stadium 19:30
Orlando Pirates v Golden Arrows, Orlando Stadium 19:30
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Free State Stars v Chippa United, Goble Park 18:00
AmaZulu FC v Kaizer Chiefs, King Zwelithini Stadium 19:30
Polokwane City v Maritzburg United, Old Peter Mokaba Stadium 19:30
Platinum Stars v Bloemfontein Celtic, Royal Bafokeng Stadium 19:30
Saturday, 25 November 2017
Maritzburg United v Wits, Harry Gwala Stadium 15:30
SuperSport United v Polokwane City, Lucas Moripe Stadium 15:30
Chippa United v Mamelodi Sundowns, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 15:30
Kaizer Chiefs v Free State Stars, Moses Mabhida Stadium 18:00
Ajax Cape Town v AmaZulu FC, Athlone Stadium 20:15
Golden Arrows v Cape Town City FC, Princess Magogo Stadium 20:15
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