HOW BUCS CAN LAND TKO

Cape Argus - - SPORT - Pi­rates have Mi­lutin “Mi­cho” Sre­do­je­vic Minenhle Mkhize

BUCS MUST SCORE FIRST

Baroka have re­ally been im­pec­ca­ble against the so-called big guns in this year’s edi­tion of the Telkom Knock­out but they are yet to come from be­hind in any of their matches. They swept aside Golden Ar­rows 2-0 in the first round, got the bet­ter of Mamelodi Sun­downs 2-0 in the quar­ter-fi­nals and de­feated Wits 1-0 in the semi-fi­nals. So Pi­rates must strive to score first so that Baroka will be forced to chase the game.

COOL HEADS

Baroka will be ap­pear­ing in their first fi­nal while Pi­rates have been in many. Play­ers like Happy Jele, pic­tured left,

Ben Motshwari, Xola Mlambo, Asavela Mbek­ile, Mpho Makola and Siyabonga Mpontshane have been to fi­nals be­fore. They will be key in terms of han­dling the pres­sure that comes with be­ing in a cup fi­nal. Pi­rates are play­ing well but they haven’t won any­thing since 2014. If Baroka score first, Pi­rates fans are likely to run out of pa­tience and start rolling fingers, sig­nalling to the coach to make sub­sti­tu­tions. You need play­ers who can han­dle the pres­sure. Jele, Mbek­ile and Mlambo can do that.

SET-PLAYS

Pi­rates were lethal and ruth­less in their pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters against Light Stars of Sey­chelles at set-plays. Makola and Justin Shonga net­ted two bril­liant free-kicks against the Is­lan­ders last week in the CAF Cham­pi­ons League. Vin­cent Pule is an­other one of those who can score from free-kicks. So Baroka must re­frain from com­mit­ting un­nec­es­sary fouls around the box. Jele and Mar­shall Munetsi. pic­tured

cen­tre, will also cause prob­lems for Baroka in the air at cor­ners and free-kicks. This might be their best way of scor­ing against a res­o­lute Baroka de­fence.

STRONG TECH­NI­CAL TEAM

and his as­sis­tant coach Rhu­lani Mok­wena on their bench and they have done a marvel­lous job in terms of build­ing a solid foun­da­tion at Pi­rates. Their team play with struc­ture and pur­pose, at­tack with zeal and tenac­ity, and can score from any­where. All of that has been due to their abil­ity to study their op­po­nents. That’s why they have gone 12 games with­out de­feat. They don’t stick to one plan but they have Plan B and C if things don’t go their way.

IM­PACT PLAY­ERS

Pi­rates have depth in their squad. They pos­sess qual­ity on the field and on the bench. If there’s no Xola Mlambo, then Musa Ny­atama, pic­tured right, can de­liver off the bench. If Pule is in­ef­fec­tive, they can bring on Thabo Qalinge, who will al­ways make an im­pact off the bench. They’ve got too much qual­ity on the bench. Linda Mn­tambo has been do­ing a stel­lar job in the Cham­pi­ons League. So the bench can win the game for Pi­rates if things don’t go their way early on.

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