In­domitable Lions ready for Soc­ceroos’ chal­lenge

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - In­ter­na­tional de­fender, said Aus­tralia pre­sented an en­tirely dif­fer­ent chal­lenge to the task the In­domitable Lions faced against Chile. The Soc­ceroos play a more di­rect game with “a lot of en­thu­si­asm” and “a fight­ing spirit,” Broos said, adding that this

EV E N though he’d spent some­time this week re­as­sur­ing his Su­per­Sport United play­ers that they had done as much prepa­ra­tion as pos­si­ble for Satur­day’s Nedbank Cup fi­nal against Or­lando Pi­rates, coach Stuart Baxter still warned that the Buc­ca­neers are quite un­pre­dictable, see­ing that his coun­ter­part, Kjell Jonevret, hasn’t com­pletely set­tled since his ar­rival in Fe­bru­ary.

The two men, who know a lit­tle about each other from their time in the Swedish league some years back, go head-to-head at Dur­ban’s Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium in a match that is a re­peat of last year’s cup fi­nal in Polok­wane, where Baxter out­smarted then Pi­rates coach Eric Tin­kler 3-1.

“I would like to say yes I can look back, but I don’t think I can,” said Baxter when asked yes­ter­day if he would draw back on that vic­tory from 13 months ago.

“When you have had the sea­son that Pi­rates have had, then I think it is a lit­tle un­pre­dictable. They want to get back into a rhythm and Kjell cer­tainly is a struc­tured coach, and he will want to put his moniker on the team. But the con­straints of their history will al­ways guide you.

“It was the same with me when I went to (Kaizer) Chiefs. I wanted to put my stamp on ev­ery­thing, but it has to be done a cer­tain way – the Chiefs way. That is one of the chal­lenges we have as coaches.

“I think right now my play­ers can do what I want them to do with­out think­ing about it too much be­cause they know me, but maybe the Pi­rates play­ers are still think­ing about what does Kjell ac­tu­ally want.”

The Buc­ca­neers haven’t yet looked that con­vinc­ing under Jonevret, who has man­aged to win six of the 17 games from when he took over – four of them be­ing en route to Satur­day’s cup fi­nal.

He, un­for­tu­nately, could not guar­an­tee that Pi­rates keep their record of be­ing one of only two sides in the Premier League era to fin­ish in the top eight, co­in­ci­den­tally leav­ing Su­per­Sport to be the only car­ri­ers of that mile­stone.

“You know, all coaches need time and Kjell needs that time.” said Baxter.

“But whether he is the coach or it’s Muhsin (Er­tu­gral, who quit three months into the sea­son), Pi­rates have got their struc­ture set in stone. Ev­ery­body knows that they don’t sign cer­tain types of play­ers. They want to play ex­pan­sive, they want to play quick and they want to play dy­namic foot­ball. In say­ing they have changed, yes they have changed mas­sively, but they haven’t changed at all.”

Baxter, mean­while, didn’t want to draw too much at­ten­tion to the fact that he will sit in the Su­per­Sport dugout for the last time on Satur­day as he moves on to per­ma­nently guide Bafana Bafana af­ter the club had al­lowed him to do both jobs this month.

He did, how­ever, have sage ad­vice for Tin­kler, who will of­fi­cially suc­ceed him next time.

“I think Eric was aware of ex­pec­ta­tions from his time at Pi­rates. I have never worked at Pi­rates, but I think the ex­pec­ta­tions there are as great as you can get. In terms of that ex­pe­ri­ence he should be okay here,” said Baxter.

“I think every job is dif­fer­ent and there will be dif­fer­ent pres­sures here than he has found at Pi­rates and Cape Town City, where it was a unique ex­pe­ri­ence for him be­cause the whole club went under the radar a lit­tle bit be­cause ev­ery­one kept say­ing it’s a new club. But for me it was a club that fin­ished fourth a year be­fore and moved a cou­ple of play­ers on and a cou­ple of play­ers in.

“They had no ex­pec­ta­tions, but there are ex­pec­ta­tions here and they will want more. That is the job and Eric has got to put up with that. It will prob­a­bly be more like it was at Pi­rates.” DE­CI­SIVE MO­MENT: Cris­tiano Ron­aldo of Por­tu­gal heads the only goal of the Group A match be­tween his coun­try and Rus­sia at the Spar­tak Sta­dium in Moscow yes­ter­day. ST PETERSBURG: Cameroon are pre­pared for a dif­fer­ent style of game against Aus­tralia to­day af­ter be­gin­ning the Fifa Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup in Rus­sia with a 2-0 de­feat to Chile, coach Hugo Broos said.

“We have to beat them if we (are to) keep our chances to go fur­ther than the first round,” the Bel­gian coach said yes­ter­day head of the clash. “If we don’t win, it is fin­ished for us. “We know what to do but it will be a very tough game be­cause this team is very tough to play against.”

Broos, a for­mer Bel­gian and is gen­er­ally happy with the way his side played against Chile, apart from a shaky first 20 min­utes of the game. “I only hope we start the game bet­ter than we did against Chile,” he said. “The first 20 min­utes, I won’t say it was a dis­as­ter but had we been un­lucky, it could have been 3-0 to Chile. So, I hope to­mor­row from the first sec­ond of the game, we will be in the game and will be dom­i­nat­ing, and this is what we will try to do.”

Mid­fielder Se­bastien Siani said de­spite the need for points against an Aus­tralia side in the same po­si­tion in Group B fol­low­ing their 3-2 de­feat to Ger­many, the African cham­pi­ons were under no pres­sure. “We fought well dur­ing the first match and this is what we need to carry on in this com­pe­ti­tion,” he said.

Cameroon’s best per­for­mance at the Con­fed Cup was in 2003 when they fin­ished as run­ners-up to France. – dpa

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