Soc­cer fever grips Bay

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Front Page - Vuyokazi Nkan­jeni nkan­[email protected]­soblack­

For­mer Or­lando Pi­rates’ star striker Jerry Sikhosana says the Buc­ca­neers have ticked all the right boxes and should walk away with the Telkom Knock­out tro­phy on Satur­day.

The Bucs play Baroka FC in the fi­nal at the Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium.

The man who went by the nick­name “Legs of Thun­der” in his play­ing days, and who spent most of his foot­balling ca­reer with the Buc­ca­neers, said al­though it would be a closely con­tested fix­ture, but he felt Pi­rates would come through 2-1 on Satur­day.

“But you can never rule out Baroka,” he warned.

“They [Baroka] have reached the fi­nal on merit and they have qual­ity in their team so for me I think it is go­ing to be a re­ally closely con­tested en­counter in Port Elizabeth.”

Pi­rates are ap­pear­ing in their ninth TKO fi­nal, but have claimed vic­tory only once – in 2011. The Or­lando side have not won a tro­phy since lift­ing the Ned­bank Cup in May 2014.

“I think it’s an op­por­tu­nity for Pi­rates to make sure that they stake their claim again to be one of the glory teams when it comes to cup com­pe­ti­tions,” Sikhosana said.

“Es­pe­cially as they have won it just once in all these years and it’s al­most four years since they have lifted a tro­phy,” he added.

“So I think the pres­sure is on them.

“But the pres­sure that I know the chair­man is go­ing to be putting on that Pi­rates team is to make sure that they win this tro­phy to make sure the sup­port­ers are happy.

“That is the only way that they can please their sup­port­ers, who are so hard to please.”

Pi­rates have been consistent this sea­son and, as a re­sult, are Absa Premier­ship log lead­ers.

They are un­beaten in their last three fix­tures.

“Pi­rates are con­vinc­ing. “They are play­ing good foot­ball and they are fir­ing on all cylin­ders and the at­tack that they have is great,” Sikhosana said.

“I am im­pressed with Justin Shonga. A lot of peo­ple crit­i­cise him be­cause his fin­ish­ing is not that good.

“But the work rate that he brings along with him is some­thing else. He needs to calm his head when he gets in­side the im­por­tant ar­eas – in terms of scor­ing goals.

“Also Them­binkosi Lorch has been on song. The for­wards and mid­field­ers are com­ing on board.

“Its go­ing to be up to Or­lando Pi­rates to make sure they take this one, or else just give it to Baroka,” Sikhosana said.

It’s al­most four years since they lifted a tro­phy Jerry Sikhosana FOR­MER PI­RATES PLAYER

Pho­to­graph: GALLO IM­AGES

IN FORM: Them­binkosi Lorch will be aim­ing to take Or­lando Pi­rates to glory in the Telkom Knock­out fi­nal on Satur­day

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