Wits ready to upset Pirates

2011-12-06 16:00
Roger de Sa (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Wits coach Roger de Sa is not concerned about his youthful charges in the Telkom Knockout final, where they will face the might of Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday evening.

Most of De Sa's current squad was still in the club's junior ranks when they lifted the 2009 Nedbank Cup.

"We don't look at the players' identity documents or how many national caps they have. The best players training this week will be travelling to Durban, so the age thing does not worry us," said De Sa.

"I know most of these guys were still in the academy when we played in the final in 2009, and won't worry about them collapsing in the match, it would be part of their learning.

"They are hungry for this match. We've played and beaten the big teams before, and they are motivated with the hype around training today (Tuesday), and will want to make this a match to be remembered."

Pirates have won four of the last five trophies on offer in the last year with the Telkom Knockout, South Africa's league cup, the only crown to elude them.

They were beaten finalists last season by Kaizer Chiefs. Based on their improved performance in the last week, where they beat Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United in the league, they have passed the dismal run that followed their MTN8 triumph in August.

Wits will need to find a way of neutralising the class of Buccaneers veteran striker Benni McCarthy, while they will bear in mind their superior display three weeks ago when they defeated Pirates 3-1 in the league.

The offensive-minded Clever Boys also welcome back the speedy Bhongolwethu Jayiya from the SA Under-23 side that was in Morocco to feature alongside Sibusiso and Sifiso Vilakazi, and Sifiso Myeni.

Though, for calmness and experience, they will rely on the influence of experienced campaigners in former Bafana Bafana captain, Mbulelo Mabizela at the back, and skipper Stanton Fredericks in midfield.

Outside of McCarthy, however, Pirates have a star-studded squad of depth, experience and quality in all departments. Their fans will also dominate the stands at the Durban venue.

"There is always more pressure on the bigger teams with bigger salaries and financial capabilities, I mean, Benni's salary alone is probably bigger than the whole of my squad," De Sa said.

"But we have to go out there, have a good time and let the kids enjoy the moment, while ensuring that they focus for the 90 minutes of the match. The truth is, I don't think there is nerves in my team and we are ready for the big time.

"We played with a fairly young squad in the Nedbank Cup final in 2009. In fact, it is the big sides that bring the best out of us."

Read more on:    telkom knockout final  |  roger de sa

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