Home Sport Chippa prepared to take the fight to visiting Buccaneers

Chippa prepared to take the fight to visiting Buccaneers

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Because of the magnitude of the fixture and the high-stakes nature it bears as far as the cup competition is concerned, Chippa Utd coach Kwanele Kopo aims to unload against a Pirates side that almost never holds back, home or away.

Kwanele Kopo, coach for Chippa United. Picture: Deryck Foster, BackpagePix

Ongama Gcwabe

OVER the years, Chippa United have successfully built a formidable record at home, more so against the big fish of South African football. As a result, opposition teams have become cognisant of the explosive repertoire that the Chilly Boys suddenly possess when playing in front of a home crowd, be it in Gqeberha or East London.

It seems the intensity with which Chippa play their home games pays almost no regard to the pedigree of their opponents or the form they bring into any fixture, so long as it is in the Eastern Cape.

On Saturday, coach Kwanele Kopo’s troops welcome the mighty Orlando Pirates at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the Friendly City for the first semi-final of the Nedbank Cup.

It’s a massive occasion, not only for Kopo and his squad, but also for Gqeberha as a city, one that is known to have quite an appetite for big sporting events.

Because of the magnitude of the fixture and the high-stakes nature it bears as far as the cup competition is concerned, Kopo aims to unload against a Pirates side that almost never holds back, home or away.

“It’s a big game by any measure,” Kopo told the media on Thursday.

“Pirates are a good team, with good intensity and good mobility up front.

“It will only be just that we play an attacking game from the beginning. It’s not a game we’re going to approach with reservation or caution.

“They have weaknesses at the back, we feel. The full-backs are more attack-minded than defensive. With what we’ve been doing up front in the last couple of games, I think we can be a handful for them.”

Kopo is putting all his eggs in one basket – this semi-final fixture against Pirates – and paying almost no regard to the looming league fixture against the same team next Wednesday.

To Kopo, this fixture goes beyond just making it to the final.

In fact, he recognises an opportunity to tighten the bond between his team and the Nelson Mandela Bay region as the club celebrates 10 years in the Friendly City.

However, Kopo carries a limping team as some of his go-to players are out of action due to either injury or suspension. The link of his team’s defence to the forwards, midfielder Baraka Majogoro and left back Azola Ntsabo, are both out due to suspension. Forward Goodman Mosele sustained an injury during their 2-1 loss to Amazulu this past weekend.

However, Kopo has a trick up his sleeve and one would expect nothing less from a man who built a reputation under the tutelage of the highly successful Pitso Mosimane.

“We’re aware that we play Pirates back-to-back, but the focus at the moment is solely on the cup game. Our life journey ends (tomorrow) at the end of the match,” said Kopo.

“If you look at our game against Swallows, there were a lot of changes in the team. Most of them forced by injuries, suspensions and caution.

“There were a couple of things we tried in the Swallows game that we’re looking to implement in the Pirates game in light of the players that are available and players that are missing. We felt that in the first half some of those things worked out very well.

“We will continue in training with that and hopefully they can pan out positively, not just in the first half but for the full 90 minutes.”

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