Baroka on the brink of the big time, again
The question on every supporter’s mind is: How far can Baroka FC’s run go in the Nedbank Cup?
Theirs has been a fairy tale so far, as they have knocked out three Absa Premiership sides.
Baroka have been the talk of the town following their impressive run in this year’s tournament. They have beaten Chippa United, Golden Arrows and Polokwane City to reach the last four.
They face their sternest test on Saturday, though, when they come up against a stubborn SuperSport United away from home.
Baroka want to go a step further by reaching their maiden cup final. Back in 2011, their run was ended by Black Leopards on penalty shoot-outs at the same stage of the same tournament.
Even then, they had caused the upset of beating Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows.
Many thought the National First Division (NFD) log leaders would be distracted by their run in the league, where they are chasing automatic promotion to the Absa Premiership. But they have managed to equally balance the two competitions.
Coach Kgoloko Thobejane said they were using one tournament to prepare for the other one.
He said they were more than prepared and he was confident of another victory on Saturday.
“We will treat this game like any other game. There is no special treatment for SuperSport. Our mission is still the same – to beat any side that we come up against.”
The NFD log leaders were three points ahead of second-placed Highlands Park before yesterday’s round of matches and Thobejane said they would not slow down in either competition.
He said his players were motivated to do well in both competitions.
“We will take each game as it comes, but we always play to win. It is easy like that.”
United coach Stuart Baxter said they would not underestimate their opponents because of their NFD status.
Baxter said Baroka would be motivated by their previous results against eliteleague clubs.
“They are used to winning and this will spur them to cause another upset. Their confidence is high because of what they have done and they will be motivated to go all the way to the final. But we have done our homework and we know what to expect,” said Baxter, who won the tournament two seasons ago while at Chiefs.
With the Nedbank the only trophy on offer for United, Baxter said they would give it their best shot.
“This is the only tangible trophy for us, and we want to reach the final and win it. Our season would not be complete without a trophy and we will do our best to capture it.”
Baxter first has another date, with another Limpopo side, this afternoon.
United host Polokwane City at Lucas Moripe in a league game and Baxter could not overstress the importance of this game.
“Obviously our aim is to ensure a topeight finish, meaning we have to win our remaining three games. I am happy with the progress we have made so far and we can achieve our goal of qualifying for the top eight.”
In another Nedbank game, Orlando Pirates visit unpredictable Free State Stars at Goble Park on Saturday afternoon. This promises to be a cracker of a game.
CONFIDENT Kgoloko Thobejane says his team will continue their giant-killing approach
CAUTIOUS Stuart Baxter says SuperSport will not underestimate Baroka on Saturday