Wits place pressure on Pirates

2014-05-15 19:30
Gavin Hunt (Gallo Images)

Durban - The pressure will be on Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup final in Durban on Saturday, said opponents Wits's assistant coach Paul Johnson.

"It's naturally going to be tough on them. They've got that big cloud of three final defeats hanging over them," Johnson said on Thursday.

"It will be a massive test of character for those boys to overcome that and see how they perform. Is it going to be too much for them and can they overcome that?"

The Buccaneers have already lost three finals this season, finishing runners-up in the MTN8, CAF Champions League and Telkom Knockout.

However, his counterpart, Pirates' assistant Eric Tinkler disagreed, saying the clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium was a fresh opportunity for the Johannesburg side to redeem themselves.

They were beaten by Platinum Stars in the two previous domestic finals and fell at the final hurdle to Egyptian side Al-Ahly in Africa's premier club competition.

"We're not putting the players under pressure. We've got to put what's in the past behind us and just look forward to the game that's coming up," Tinkler said.

"It's important to leave the history behind and we keep telling the players that. They need to go into this game, enjoying and relishing the experience of playing in a cup final.

"Not everyone gets the opportunity to do it."

Looking back at the finals lost by Pirates, Tinkler said it was not a case of playing poorly but losing focus towards the end of the matches.

"We played exceptional football in every one of them, we just lost concentration at the last minute," he said.

"That's how important it is to maintain the concentration and focus throughout the 96 minutes you play or the 106 minutes you play."

Tinkler, a former Bafana Bafana player and ex-Wits assistant, said the hunger within the squad to take something out of a trophyless season was extremely high.

"We finished second in the other three and nobody is happy with that. Everyone wants to redeem themselves.

"Nobody likes to finish second, nobody remembers who finished second, so it's obviously important now for us to get the result against Wits in what is our last opportunity to salvage some pride from the season."

The Students have also enjoyed an impressive campaign, claiming their highest ever points tally in the league where they ended third.

A key ingredient to that has been the arrival of Gavin Hunt from SuperSport United at the start of the term.

The Wits coach will be contesting his third straight Nedbank Cup final after winning the title with Matsatsantsa in 2011/12 and losing in the decider last year.

"Everyone knows Gavin is shrewd customer to deal with, but he's a winner," Johnson said.

"I think the biggest change in us as a club has been a winning mentality.

"It's very important for us to go out there on Saturday and top our season off with silverware as opposed to being a respectable season."

Read more on:    wits  |  orlando pirates  |  nedbank cup  |  gavin hunt  |  durban  |  soccer


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

'England can't afford me', jokes Gatland
Boot boys Biggar, Foley set for showdown
Wales seek to end woeful Wallaby run
De Allende's star burns bright
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

Who was the best summer signing in the EPL?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.