“Stellenbosch know us very well,” said Steve Komphela. “They will come to Moses Mabhida to cause an upset. But they will find us ready, because in cup games it’s about all or nothing.”
The Kaizer Chiefs coach took his troops through their paces at the match venue on Friday afternoon. At stake is a passage to the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup.
“This will be like a cup final for the Stellenbosch players,” Komphela added. “They want to use this game to showcase their talent, knowing that they will be watched by more spectators than usual. However, we have one thing in mind and that’s a win to make sure that we progress to the next round.”
This much anticipated Nedbank Cup Last 16 fixture will kick-off under the Durban skies at 20:15 on Saturday evening, 10 March.
Changes are expected with Ramahlwe Mphahlele out due to suspension after having collected four yellow cards. “Tower and Teenage are contenders for that slot,” the Chiefs mentor revealed, indicating at the prospect of either Erick ‘Tower’ Mathoho or Teenage Hadebe getting a starting berth in the absence of Mphahlele.
George Maluleka is still on the sideline due to an ankle injury, which means that Wiseman Meyiwa will probably continue partnering Willard Katsande in the heart of the midfield. Leonardo Castro, meanwhile, has shrugged off a pain in his foot and is ready to start.
“Steve Barker will not change his spots,” comments Komphela about the coach of tonight’s opponent, Stellenbosch FC. “His teams are always a threat because of his acumen of the game. We know that and our intelligence confirms that he’s still the Barker we know.”
Steve Barker led the University of Pretoria to a win over Chiefs in a Nedbank Cup Last 16 clash in 2009. Amakhosi lost 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller, despite leading 2-1 at half-time.
“They have Igraam Rayners as a threat in attack,” Komphela remarked about Stellenbosch’s striker, who scored the sole goal when Stellenbosch beat Highlands Park in the previous Nedbank Cup round. “Their centre-backs are solid as well.”
“At the end of the day we are the hosts. We have to exert ourselves early on and make them uncomfortable, which will also get our supporters going, who I hope will turn up in numbers at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The support we receive in Durban is amazing – our supporters here are so enthusiastic, always standing vocally behind the team.”
Tickets are sold for R60 at TicketPro (including CNA, Edgars, Jet Mart, Postnet).