Pirates wary of 'hoodoo team'

2011-12-09 12:24

Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates assistant coach Tebogo Moloi expects plenty of problems from "hoodoo" team BidVest Wits when the two sides meet in the Telkom Knockout final in Durban on Saturday.

The Buccaneers, playing in their fifth straight cup final, are strong favourites to claim a second title of the season, having already clinched the MTN8 trophy in September.

However, they face up to a bullish Wits side, buoyed by a 3-1 victory when the two recently met in an Absa Premiership clash in Nelspruit.

"Wits has always been Pirates' hoodoo team," Moloi, a former Bucs midfielder, recalled.

"In 1988 at the Rand Stadium, we played a semi-final and Zane Moosa mesmerised us. Then if you go back again to 1995 when we played Wits again, they won the tournament 1-0."

The students have been impressive in attack this season with Ryan Chapman one of their key men.

Moloi conceded there would be no specific plan for Chapman or any other opposing players, but pointed to his side’s defence as one of the keys to claiming a trophy they have never won.

"Preparation, team spirit and unity are very important. This is a cup final and we have to prepare for an even better performance from them," he said.

"One lapse of concentration can result in a goal. We have a good defence and if you don’t concede then you have a good chance of winning the cup."

Both teams arrive in Durban on Friday with no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match, which will be played at a sold-out Moses Mabhida Stadium.

For Pirates, midfielder Dikgang Mabalane (knee) misses out, while Wits will be without suspended captain Stanton Fredericks.

Wits number-two, Eric Tinkler, was adamant their youthful squad would not be overawed by the occasion.

"Half of the squad were here when we won the Nedbank Cup and they remember what a fantastic feeling it was to have won that cup," he said.

"We went in as underdogs against AmaZulu in 2010 and won 3-0. We have a lot of belief in them and hopefully the result will be in our favour come Saturday."

Tinkler said they were mentally prepared for a backlash after what happened at the Mbombela Stadium, when several key players from Pirates were missing through injury.

"This game will be no different. It’s obviously going to be a lot harder because the Pirates players are going to be extra motivated to try and turn the result around," Tinkler said.

"We’ll need to be extra alert, extra disciplined in the game. We won’t change anything in our preparation and the most important thing is for our players go out there and give 100 percent."