Pirates only favourites on paper — Nyirenda
ORLANDO Pirates will have fresh legs and the status as favourites, but Baroka FC coach Wedson Nyirenda believes his Limpopo-based side need to win the Telkom Knockout more than Orlando Pirates do.
Pirates head into tomorrow’s tournament-decider in Port Elizabeth with the smart money on them and their firstteam players were generally not involved in midweek action in Africa.
But Nyirenda has pointed out that his side beat other PSL giants Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits to reach their maiden Cup final.
“Pirates is the biggest team now, very organised and they have a very good crop of players. I think they can make three or four good teams,” Nyirenda said.
“It is a team that has a good squad, good depth.
“Getting into this game, we have come very far. We have met equally good teams in the league and coming to this stage we have kept clean sheets in all our matches, and we have been scoring goals. We come to this match with a lot of things.”
Nyirenda, who joined Baroka in the off-season, knows how special it will be for the modest Absa Premiership side to win their first trophy at the log leaders’ expense.
“I will be happy if we are called favourites or underdogs.
“Yes, we are going into this game against a team that won major trophies, including the Caf [Champions League] and zero on our side.
“So, we need it most, more than them. Every player in the team knows what is expected.
“Few of them have won trophies and the rest this could be the first.”
Baroka have been inactive since defeating Wits on November 25, while Pirates have played three times since eliminating Kaizer Chiefs from the tournament on November 24.
Bucs most recently beat Light Stars 3-1 in Seychelles on Wednesday to advance 8-2 on aggregate to the first round of the Caf Champions League.
“We had a little bit of a longer period to prepare for this game, but we also have in mind the league because we are not in a good position.
“We have a big game coming after the final and this is what is in our minds. So, we have been preparing for these two big games, Sundowns and Pirates,” said Nyirenda.
The winners of tomorrow’s match will earn R4 million and the runners-up R1,5 million, plus all 16 teams who played in the competition get R250 000 as an appearance fee and at least another R200 000 as first-round losers.
Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 6 pm, with live coverage on SuperSport and SABC.
Baroka FC coach Wedson Nyirenda, whose men are underdogs for the Telkom Knockout final against Orlando Pirates in Port Elizabeth tomorrow.