Pirates wary of Santos threat
Lucky Lekgwathi (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi is aware that Santos will be coming for revenge when the two teams lock horns in their MTN8 quarter-final clash at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening, kick-off at 20:15pm.
The last time the two teams met in an MTN8 fixture was last season at the same stage and on that occasion the Buccaneers ran out 2-1 victors thanks to goals from Isaac Chansa and Daine Klate.
Lekgwathi is well aware of that and believes the People’s Team will be coming for retribution, “Santos are a tough team and they will want to beat us. They will be coming for revenge after we beat them last season in the MTN8, but we are ready for them and are looking forward to it.”
The Buccaneers captain goes on to add that they are happy to be playing at home, “Santos are difficult team to play against, and we are glad we are playing them at home. Playing at Orlando is good for us, in front of our home fans. We want to make our supporters happy and continue from where we left off last season.”
Pirates enjoyed a hugely successful campaign last season winning a treble of trophies as they lifted the MTN8 (which broke a seven-year trophy drought and a ten-year wait for silverware in a cup competition), the Absa Premiership and the Nedbank Cup titles.
Lekgwathi knows that the pressure will be on his team to overachieve yet again and it all starts with the MTN8, “We have assembled a good team and signed some good new players and we all want to achieve what we achieved last season and it starts against Santos on Saturday. In order to do that we just need to keep working hard and show the fighting spirit we had last season.”
On the reverse side Santos’ Tyren Arendse says football is not about revenge, but the pressure is on him and his team-mates to produce the goods this season, “Football is not about revenge, each and every game is different. This season hopefully we will have a better game against Pirates. It is on us as players to go out there and prove ourselves and show people what we are capable of.”
Arendse also admits that the Buccaneers are formidable opponents considering their achievements from last season and the fact that they have had tough opposition (facing Tottenham Hotspur and Kaizer Chiefs) in preseason will make them difficult to beat.
“I think Pirates is a quality team and they have had some quality opposition during pre-season and they have done well. For us it is just to go out there and do our best. On the day anything is possible and hopefully this time around it will be Santos that goes through,” said the Santos attacking midfielder.
The People’s Team have had a quiet preseason but Arendse confirms that his team are still confident going into the clash.
“Pre-season has been tough, but that is where all the hard work is done. We had a good physical camp and we built a lot of team spirit. We have also managed to play a few friendly games against PSL teams and it all went well. We are confident going into this first game,” said Arendse.
Pirates and Santos have met in eight previous cup matches: the Soweto side have won four of those encounters, the Cape side three, and just one has ended in a draw - Santos went on to win the penalty shootout resulting from that single stalemate.
In conclusion, Arendse says we can expect an entertaining game.
“It is going to be an exciting game. I think most importantly for us is that we concentrate on what we want to do. We have got an exciting team who know each other well. We have been together, most of us, for the past few seasons now, so I think it is time for us as players to step-up and show the country what we can do.”