Home Sport Orlando Pirates shifts their full focus to Nedbank Cup final

Orlando Pirates shifts their full focus to Nedbank Cup final

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Orlando Pirates’ rousing finish to the Premiership season could provide a idea of the destiny of the 2023 Nedbank Cup trophy, writes Herman Gibbs.

Jose Riveiro will be hoping his tactics can help Orlando Pirates bag the Nedbank Cup. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

Cape Town – Orlando Pirates’ rousing finish to the DStv Premiership season could provide a idea of the destiny of the 2023 Nedbank Cup trophy.

Pirates will be up against the unfashionable Sekhukhune United in Saturday’s final at the iconic Loftus Versfeld. Pirates will take the home change room at Loftus after they were drawn as hosts for the final.

In the run-up to last weekend’s Premiership finale, Pirates managed 35 points (from 45) in their final 15 games. During the same spell, Mamelodi Sundowns bagged 33 points, which is perhaps the only time the impressive 13-time champions were upstaged.

But it reflects the momentum Pirates generated at the business end of the season, and nothing is stopping them from continuing in that vein against Sekhukhune.

Pirates progressed to the final after Jose Riveiro’s men claimed a 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs in extra-time at the sold-out FNB Stadium at the start of the month.

In the second semi-final, Stellenbosch FC and Sekhukhune United played out to a goalless draw and Sekhukhune advanced to the final after winning the penalty shoot-out 4-3.

Khensani Nobanda, group executive of marketing and corporate affairs at Nedbank, says the teams have produced some great football in this year’s competition.

“We have been spoiled with some exceptional knockout football throughout this Nedbank Cup season,” said Nobanda.

“Not only is this cup competition the most entertaining, but it also truly demonstrates how a small decision can have a major impact on our lives both on and off the field of play.

“We look forward to crowning the 16th Nedbank Cup champions on Saturday. We anticipate it will be another thrilling affair at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.”

Pirates will be on a high after winning 4-0 against AmaZulu over the weekend and their Spanish coach José Riveiro said afterwards they were hoping for a good performance in the final.

“We will celebrate the win (against AmaZulu) because what we did is important. Now we shift our focus to the final because we hope for a good performance in the final,” said Riveiro.

“We just finished the league season, and we had an excellent 2023. I’m happy to have everybody ready to play.

“We are going to the final and it’s going to be a difficult task for me to decide who is going to start and who is going to be part of the 20 because I have a fantastic squad full of talent.”

Bucs can end with a cup double this season after winning the MTN8 in November.

Sekhukhune and their coach Brandon Truter will enjoy appearing on the big stage after they reached the final and that ensures they will play in the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

It was an excellent year for Sekhukhune, who would have started the season focused on securing their elite status. They surpassed that expectation and on Saturday they defeated SuperSport United 1-0 to finish seventh.

Truter will be a man on a mission in the final. His nose is out joint because he was not nominated for the Coach of the Year along with Rivero, Gavin Hunt and Rhulani Mokwena.

“We are into CAF and playing Confederation Cup next season,” said Truter.

“We have a major cup final this week. We moved from 15th position to seventh place (on the Premiership standings) and we still don’t get talked about for Coach of the Season …”

@Herman_Gibbs

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