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Richards Bay expect a Stellenbosch onslaught

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‘We expect them to come at us more, especially because it’s a cup game. It’s not going to be easy because if you lose, you’re out.’

Austin Dube and his teammates at Richards Bay FC are prepared to face an attacking Stellenbosch team. Picture: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

Richards Bay defender Austin Dube has revealed he and his teammates’ motivation to create history for the club ahead of their Carling Knockout Cup semi-final on Saturday. Kick-off is at 3pm.

The Natal Rich Boyz, who are in their first top-flight cup semi-final, will welcome Stellenbosch FC to the King Zwelithini Stadium looking to further their title ambitions.

The KwaZulu-Natal-based outfit is one of two clubs in the province in the final four of the inaugural season of the competition, alongside AmaZulu.

However, standing in the way of Richards Bay are an in-form Stellies side, who just seem unbeatable at the moment.

ALSO READ: More mature Stellies in bid to end their cup semis hoodoo

Coach Steve Barker’s boys recently beat Usuthu in Durban before going on to dismantle Cape Town Spurs 3-0 in league competition on Tuesday, extending their seven-game unbeaten run and securing six wins in that period.

Hosts Richards Bay have lost one of their last four, frustrating Orlando Pirates on two occasions – first knocking them out of the competition in the last round, before holding them to a goalless stalemate in the league.

Dube said that although he and his teammates are aware of the threat posed by Stellies, they are inspired by the prospect of playing in a first top-flight cup final for the club.

“Coming into this one, I don’t think the club has ever come this far in a cup competition, so it is very important that we play the game and win and go to the final,” he told the media.

“It’s going to be physical … We’ve already played them in the league, (and) I don’t think there’ll be any changes when it comes to that.

“We expect them to come at us more, especially because it’s a cup game. It’s not going to be easy because if you lose, you’re out.”

Head coach Kaitano Tembo is the most experienced in the two dug-outs in terms of cup competitions, after his role in leading former club SuperSport United to MTN8 glory in the 2019-2020 season.

And having sat alongside a serial winner like Gavin Hunt as the SuperSport assistant coach, the Zimbabwean-born mentor will have to show his mettle in what may be deemed an evenly matched encounter against Stellies.

The 53-year-old expressed a need for normality in his squad in terms of preparations, while affording the Cape Winelands outfit the respect they deserve.

“We prepare the same way we prepare for all of our matches, with the same attitude and the same respect we give every opponent,” Tembo said.

“We are playing against a very good team, a team that have done very well, especially in the league. We really need to be in the right condition, as well as a mentality for us to get a good result.”

Richards Bay will go into this encounter looking to overturn the 2-1 loss they’ve already suffered to Stellenbosch in the Premiership this season.

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