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Pirates face torrid run-up to TKO final

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Pirates have endured turbulent times in the past four finals they’ve played, losing all of them. They haven’t tasted success in the past four years.

CONSERVING ENERGY: Augustine Mulenga of Orlando Pirates celebrates his goal against Lightstars FC by falling on his back during the Champions League 2018/19 match at Orlando Stadium. The Soweto team is facing a hactic schedule in the next few days as they compete on different fronts.

Orlando Pirates don’t want any negativity heading into the Telkom Knockout final against Baroka FC at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday at 6pm.

Pirates have endured turbulent times in the past four finals they’ve played, losing all of them. They haven’t tasted success in the past four years.

Pirates had been in this situation before they won their historical ‘double treble’. The Bucanneers went for eight years without winning any major silverware but came back strongly with multiple titles.

Pirates are not worried that they might go through the same waiting period for a trophy again.

The club’s administrative manager, Floyd Mbele, made it clear that they don’t want to think negatively.

“Why must we think about that? That is negative thinking. Who anticipated that we were going to win a treble? You can’t just have a negative mentality. We are in a final and we want to win it. We will prepare for it normally like we always do,” Mbele said.

Pirates are on a roll at the moment, and are displaying eye-catching football that has moved them to the top of the PSL table, they have reached the final of the Telkom Knockout, and have gone 12 games unbeaten in all competitions.

They are sweeping aside any teams they come up against, and negativity is the last thing on their minds at the moment.

“We haven’t done anything different. Nothing has happened at the moment,” Mbele elaborated when he was quizzed about the progress of the team.

Pirates last piece of silverware came back in 2014 against Bidvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup final.

Asked about incentives for the players if they win the cup, Mbele replied: “We don’t discuss those matters in public. That is an internal matter.”

Pirates, however, won’t find it easy against Baroka FC, who are no pushovers. They have proven that time and time again in this year’s edition of the TKO, as they dumped Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits out of the competition.

Bakgaga is searching for their maiden triumph in top flight football, and they have every reason to believe that they can do it after sending the former champions, Wits, packing in this tournament.

But most of their success has come at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. It will be interesting how they handle the butterflies of playing in the final for the first time away from home against the mighty Buccaneers.

On the other hand Pirates have to plan properly for the final because they don’t have much time to prepare.

They are currently in the Seychelles for the Champions League and they will come back on Thursday before travelling to Port Elizabeth on Friday to face Baroka on Saturday.

Today they are up against Lightstars of Seychelles in the preliminary round of the Champions League. Pirates are leading 5-1 on aggregate score.