Baroka coach is up­beat

Nyirenda con­fi­dent of Knock­out suc­cess

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT - MINENHLE MKHIZE [email protected]

WED­SON Nyirenda came highly rec­om­mended and Baroka FC un­der­stand­ably had high ex­pec­ta­tions of the for­mer Zam­bian in­ter­na­tional when they ap­pointed him their coach at the start of the sea­son.

Mid­way through the sea­son though, and there has been very lit­tle to sug­gest Nyirenda will do for Baroka what he did for club and coun­try back home.

When in Zam­bia, the erst­while Kaizer Chiefs striker en­joyed suc­cess with Zesco and Zanaco on the club scene well as with the na­tional un­der20 and se­nior teams.

In Polok­wane, how­ever, Nyirenda strug­gles to get Bak­gaga fir­ing on all cylin­ders – es­pe­cially in the league.

“We didn’t start well but slowly we are start­ing to find our feet,” Nyirenda said this week as he as­sessed Baroka’s 12th po­si­tion on the ta­ble.

They have a chance to brighten up their sea­son through the Telkom Knock­out com­pe­ti­tion in which they are a win away from the fi­nal.

That vic­tory though has to be achieved against hold­ers Bid­vest Wits whom they host at the Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium this af­ter­noon.

On pa­per it looks like mis­sion im­pos­si­ble for Nyirenda and his team given Wits’ pedi­gree.

But they have ac­counted for some big names en route to this af­ter­noon’s tie woth the Clever Boys.

Vic­tory over Mamelodi Sun­downs in the last round was a huge con­fi­dence booster for Bak­gaga, says Nyirenda who is pleased they are host­ing Wits.

“It is nice that we are play­ing at home. We’ve done well at home in this com­pe­ti­tion. We won against Golden Ar­rows and Sun­downs. We want to keep that record go­ing. We know it is not go­ing to be easy against Wits. They want to de­fend their tro­phy. So, we have to be at our best,” Nyirenda said.

But with Wits look­ing to be­come only the se­cond team af­ter Kaizer Chiefs to win back to back Telkom Knock­out ti­tles, Baroka’s task will be pretty tough.

“We want to go into the fi­nal. That will be a nice feel­ing for us.

“I be­lieve we have what it take to be in the fi­nal. We are un­der-dogs and Wits are the favourites. We will go out there and give it our best.

“We want to make our own sup­port­ers happy,” he added

With the fi­nal some kind of a lot­tery, the fact it will be against the Soweto gi­ants Or­lando Pi­rates not­with­stand­ing, Nyirenda is urg­ing his team to get over the hur­dle that is Wits.

“If we can get in to the fi­nal any­thing can hap­pen,” he ex­plained.

“Of course Wits are a very dan­ger­ous side, es­pe­cially in set plays. We have to be wary of them if we are to progress to the fi­nal.”

Beat Wits and Nyirenda will leave the Baroka man­age­ment jus­ti­fied at hav­ing picked him up for the job in­stead of the many lo­cal coaches who were avail­able.

And the Zam­bian le­gend would prove that his great suc­cess in his na­tive coun­try was no fluke.

To­day’s match kicks off at 3pm while the fi­nal will be played at Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium in Port El­iz­a­beth on De­cem­ber 8.

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