Their respective destinies in the PSL title race may not be in their hands any more, but Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United are fully aware that the Nedbank Cup could be a defining moment in their season.
The two teams meet in the quarterfinals tomorrow at FNB Stadium with both intent on winning some silverware this season. Both teams are still in the race for the league title, but will need other teams to drop points for them to have a real chance. The Nedbank Cup is a competition both have a chance of winning, but first they need to negotiate their way to the final.
Chiefs, who have the upper hand over SuperSport in cup competitions, are on a good run having gone 11 matches unbeaten in all competitions, while Matsatsantsa a Pitori have not won in their last four matches. But Chiefs coach Steve Komphela feels form will count for nothing tomorrow.
“You’ve got to be very careful with a team that is not getting results and our team know what is expected of them,” Komphela said. “SuperSport are not any different. With regards to Stuart Baxter, he is very experienced. “Even the two matches he played against Sundowns were not the same. That is the sign of a coach who thinks and learns from previous experiences. “If he thinks about the previous match he lost against Sundowns and how they played the way they did on Wednesday, then there is a possibility he might have a different way of planning the match he is going to play on Saturday. “
He is going to come with a different way of thinking.” Komphela will hope that striker Gustavo Paez continues his good run of form to help them advance to the next round. For his part, Baxter said SuperSport will come up with a game plan to make life difficult for Chiefs. “I think what’s been a very tough schedule for everybody in the PSL puts down a few conditions in terms of squad rotation‚ loading of the players‚ who’s fit and how you’re going to play,”
Baxter said. “It puts down conditions in terms of how you’re going to pick your XI. “We will try to find a game plan that we think will unsettle Chiefs. Undoubtedly it’s going to be a tough game. “It’s two teams who know each other well and we both have ambitions to go far in this tournament.”
United will be without Kingston Nkhatha who twisted his ankle in their 1-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday but welcome Thabo Mnyamane back from suspension. nevillek@thenewage. co.za Nedbank Cup fact file: Chiefs and SuperSport have met three times in the Nedbank Cup with Amakhosi winning all three, including the 2013 final. The other times they met was in the last 32 and quarterfinals. SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter has won the Nedbank Cup twice, first with Chiefs and then with Matsatsantsa a Pitori last year.
The last time these two teams met was in November last year in a league match which finished 1-1 at FNB Stadium. It was a match that witnessed Chiefs fans throwing objects at coach Steve Komphela following a string of poor results. SuperSport go into this fixture boasting eight former Chiefs players and ex-coach Baxter. The last time SuperSport defeated Chiefs in a cup competition match was in 2004 when they defeated them in the SAA Super 8 final.