njabulo ngidi
2 minute read
12 Apr 2014
12:00 pm

One focus for Downs

njabulo ngidi

Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates come into their Nedbank Cup quarterfinal tonight at Loftus Versfeld with the same pressure to win some silverware this season, but coming from different backgrounds.

Injury doubt: Alje Schut. Pic: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The Buccaneers have featured in three cup finals already this season, including the Caf Champions League, but they don’t have anything to show for it, losing on all three occasions. This tournament is their last shot at finishing the campaign with a cup as the Absa Premiership has slipped from them.

The Brazilians lead the Premiership race with four matches to go with an opportunity of a double, to end a six-year trophy drought.

“I am used to pressure,” Sundowns captain Alje Schut said.

“I have been playing professionally for 14 years. I am just here to play football and perform. If I don’t perform, then you can hold me accountable for it, that’s what professional football is. If you play for a club like Sundowns, you have to win every game. If you can’t handle the pressure, then you don’t belong at Sundowns.”

This is a demand that has ended many careers at Sundowns where coaches have needed police escort with the Brazilians fans baying for blood when they have failed to deliver despite club president Patrice Motsepe investing millions.

This season the outfit is starting to reward their fans with a shot at the league and the Nedbank Cup.

“I don’t want to think that far ahead,” Schut said at the prospect of a double.

“The focus now for us is the cup. We have to respect our opponents. They are a very good team. I enjoyed their success in the Champions League. I think it is very good for South African football and will also lift the image of South African football.”

Winning the Nedbank Cup for the Buccaneers will not only finish a campaign they started positively on a high note, but will give them a chance to settle unfinished business on the continent by playing in the Caf Confederation Cup. This is what makes Schut wary of the Buccaneers.

“They are going to go all out,” he said.

“The league is over for them, they can’t win the title. This is their chance to make something good out of the season. But we are also going to go all out. We are ready for them.”