HOW BUCS CAN LAND TKO
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.
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.
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.
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.