YOUNG­STERS TO GIVE BAROKA A BOOST

Cup fi­nal berth beck­ons for Kerr’s braves as they take on Celtic

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - HERMAN GIBBS

BAROKA FC’s pri­mary ob­jec­tive in Satur­day’s Ned­bank Cup semi­fi­nal against Bloem­fontein Celtic at Or­lando Sta­dium will be to field a team that can func­tion as a unit.

Coach Dy­lan Kerr has pro­moted five play­ers from the ranks of the club’s Mul­tiChoice Diski Chal­lenge squad, and his priority will be to ease one or two of them seam­lessly into Satur­day’s start­ing line-up.

The rook­ies will bring a mea­sure of con­fi­dence into the squad – judg­ing by the mood they dis­played in a video at train­ing over the week­end.

On match­day, how­ever, Kerr will have to en­sure a sense of calm suited to the big stage and all the pres­sure that comes with cup foot­ball.

These play­ers will pro­vide re­in­force­ments af­ter Baroka re­leased Kamo­gelo Mo­gaswa, Ranga Chivaviro, Mo­gau Kh­winana and Te­bogo Sodi in re­cent weeks.

New sign­ing, striker Lun­gelo Nguse from the ABC Mot­sepe League East­ern Cape club Bizana Pondo Chiefs FC, will be in the squad but will only be avail­able for se­lec­tion next sea­son.

He should, how­ever, ben­e­fit from the novel ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing part of a Pre­mier­ship squad.

Kerr is likely to stick to his pre­ferred 4-4-2 for­ma­tion, and that should help the play­ers to cope with the spe­cific game plan for this match.

Baroka are presently five places be­low Bloem Celtic on the Absa Pre­mier­ship log, and five points adrift.

The log statis­tic that will mostly in­ter­est Kerr is that Celtic have con­ceded 33 goals against Baroka’s 21. Kerr may well sense an air of vul­ner­a­bil­ity in Celtic’s rear­guard and an area worth tar­get­ing.

The team’s spin doc­tors will no doubt also re­mind the play­ers that Baroka sur­prised friend and foe alike when they de­feated the highly fan­cied Or­lando Pi­rates in the 2018 Telkom Cup fi­nal at the Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium, in Port El­iz­a­beth.

With that his­tor­i­cal feat in the back of their minds, Baroka will no doubt run out in­spired for Satur­day’s 2pm semi-fi­nal clash.

A good show­ing in the match could also help Bak­gakga’s league am­bi­tions. The club are fight­ing for sur­vival in the Absa Pre­mier­ship as they cur­rently lie 13th in the stand­ings, only three points clear of bot­tom of the log side Black Leop­ards and level on points with AmaZulu, who re­side in the rel­e­ga­tion play-off spot on 23 points.

Vic­tory this week­end will no doubt boost their con­fi­dence ahead of the Pre­mier­ship restart next week, adding another in­cen­tive to their play.

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COACH Dy­lan Kerr will want his Baroka side to dom­i­nate Bloem­fontein Celtic on Satur­day in the first Ned­bank Cup semi-fi­nal.

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