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United prepared for different ball game


Tlhone won’t be going out there to prove his worth against his former employers, though

Bokang Tlhone of Maritzburg United during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Maritzburg United and Kaizer Chiefs at Harry Gwala Stadium, Pietermaritzburg on 17 August 2018 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bokang Tlhone was delighted last season with Wits as they lifted the Telkom Knockout crown at the expense of Bloemfontein Celtic at Princess Magogo Stadium, and the now-Maritzburg United fullback is facing the difficult challenge of stopping the defending champions.

The Team of Choice will lock horns against the defending Telkom Knockout champions, Wits, tomorrow at 8.15pm in a quarter-final tie at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

The impeccable Wits side is oozing with confidence and gunning for history in this year’s edition of the TKO. They want to be the second side in the history of the competition to defend their crown.

Kaizer Chiefs are the only side to achieve this feat. Tlhone, who was on the books of Wits last season as they were crowned the champions, is eager to end the dream for Wits but says he understands that it won’t be easy.

“It is going to be a different ball game because this is a knockout competition. If we beat Wits it will be a great stepping stone towards reaching the final and changing our season. We know the feeling of being in a cup final and we want to make a second (in two seasons) and win it this time around. It won’t be easy against the defending champions. They will come out guns blazing but we want to beat them,” Tlhone (pictured) said as he prepares to face his former side.

He joined the Team of Choice in January. United excelled last season as they went all the way to the final of the Nedbank Cup only to be stunned by Free State Stars at the last hurdle in Cape Town.

Tlhone won’t be going out there to prove his worth against his former employers, though.

“No, I don’t have anything to prove. I enjoyed my short stay with Wits. I reached my first cup final (in top flight football). I left on good terms, so, I don’t have anything to prove,” he said.

Wits, meanwhile, are in rampant form this season. They are currently at the summit of the Absa Premiership standings, and United will have to be at their best if they want to pull off what will be an astonishing result against the side that is on a mission.

They have to bounce back from the defeat they suffered at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane against Polokwane City this past weekend.

“The result against Polokwane City was not a true reflection of the game. What we learned is that if you don’t take your chances, that comes back to haunt you at a later stage. We were supposed to win that match, but that is gone now.

“We have a cup game and we have to make it up for the weekend’s loss We are preparing well and we are ready as a team,” Tlhone elaborated, before adding: “If we are doing well in the cup that will lift the spirit of the team. As you keep on winning you get that belief that you can go all the way. We are preparing like any other game.

“All is well in the camp we are ready for the game.” Tlhone said.