Top spot up for grabs as first play second
Coaches Madinda Ndlovu and Daniel Nare say their teams’ unbeaten run in BTC Premiership will count for little when they clash at the Itekeng Stadium, in Orapa tonight.
Nare’s Extension Gunners are top of the log with 11 points from five games ahead of Ndlovu’s second-placed Orapa United, who are just two points behind having played the same number of games.
Speaking to Voice Sport on Wednesday afternoon, Ndlovu said reading too much into his side’s strong start to the season, in which his team have drawn three games and won two, would be foolhardy.
“You are only as good as your last game. I know many people look at the game from only one perspective; that of winning, but we know there are three possibility in a football match. You win some, lose some and draw some. We will have this in mind when we go into the game against Gunners. We will be aiming for three points because no team goes into a match to lose. The fight on the field is for three points,” the Orapa gaffer said.
The Zimbabwean-born mentor went on to say his team would do their best to take advantage of playing at home.
“We want to continue doing well at home as this makes us stronger. We also need to keep our good form so that we can carry it into the CAF Confederations Cup. We want to go into the CAF competition on a high and this means we must continue playing well at home,” Ndlovu told Voice Sport.
The Ostriches qualified for the CAF Confederations Cup – Africa’s secondary club football competition – by virtue of winning last season’s Mascom Top 8 tournament.
Quizzed on his preparations for the game against the league leaders, the Orapa coach dismissed the pre-match hype and responded by saying, “There is nothing special about them. We are preparing for the game as we would do for any other premier league team.”
He went on to say that he is confident his team would play well in-spite of injuries to three of his key players.
According to Madinda, Letumile Molebatsi, Kabo Mungabe and Olekantse Mambo will not make the match day squad as they are all carrying niggles.
“They are key players but we have a squad of 25 and I trust whoever comes in to do the job,” Madinda said.
For his part, Nare said the good start to the season counts for nothing in Orapa tonight.
“We are facing a formidable team and an equally formidable technical team. We do not have the quality they have. Madinda is a shrewd coach who has achieved so much. His assistant Zachariah Mudzadzi is also knowledgeable about local football. The pair are tried and tested horses of the local game. What will count is how we play, not the games we have done well in so far,” the man affectionately known as Chicco told Voice Sport.
Nare however expressed hope that his charges will do their best to get a result against the team that embarrassed them 3-0 in the corresponding fixture last season.
“On paper they are stronger, they have better quality in terms of players but we have no excuse not to get a result against them. I have an injury free squad and this gives me confidence we can do well,” Nare said.
“Madinda is my good friend but come Friday the friendship will be suspended for 90 minutes,” the ever-colourful Nare intimated.
The much-anticipated match kicks off at 19:00 with top spot in the premier league up for grabs.