Nie Cele

Mzansi’s football lovers and fanatics will be on tenterhooks and gripped on their television sets, while others will brave the unpredictable chilly weather today to watch the much anticipated  Nedbank Cup derby semi-finals between rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates taking place at the Calabash FNB Stadium.

This sold out affair spectacle is famous for dividing families, friends and foes due to allegiance.

The camaraderie that exists between these groups of people become entangled for days and weeks due to the outcome results of this epic clash of the titans.

On Paper soccer pundits believe Amakhosi will have an upper hand as usual by virtue of beating Bucs in the last two meetings.

 Pirates steadfast faithfulls believe its pay back time for the pain inflicted by chiefs in the past two encounters.

Unlike the league encounters, this time around one team has to win either during regular time, extra time or even during penalty shootout because it’s a knockout and both teams are vying for a spot in the final where they will face either Stellenbosch FC or Sekhukhune United who will be locking horns tomorrow in the second Nedbank Cup Semifinal.

As things stands, Pirates has been playing well this season and have bagged MTN cup whereas Chiefs has been plagued by an intermittent inconsistency by winning in one week and losing the following week.

During a marathon media open days this week coaches and players have also spoken their minds and made their carefully thought predictions and wishes for this do or die clash.

Kermit Erasmus told journalist during his club training their main focus will be on the plan to be implemented on the day.

“In the past encounters we were a better team and we  suffered from a lapse of concentration. We are looking forward for this clash and hope to create as many scoring chances as possible. ”

Bucs Skipper, Innocent Maela, said,  “We will make sure we are in our best condition. As players we go to matches with an open mind and not thinking about the past defeats. We will show Amakhosi we want this cup and a win more than them.”

Meanwhile Chiefs lefback, Sifiso Hlanti told journalists playing Pirates will always be a fight.

“They have a plan and we have a plan and we are positive for this upcoming encounter.”

Yusuf Maart, Chiefs attacking Miedfielder, said, “There will always be pressure when playing for Chiefs. We just have to play according to the plan and instructions from the Coach.”

Chiefs Coach Arthur Zwane, downplayed the clash arguing that they can’t rely on their past performance against Bucs.

“We are coming into this game as underdogs. Players know what is at stake. We want to win this cup for the 20th time.”

Bucs mentor, Jose Riverio, said, “We feel strong and comfortable but what is coming this Saturday is a good knockout game. That makes it much more a special game we want it more than them.”

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