Chokoe: Baroka must make Pirates panic

Posted: 7 December 2018 Time: 18:00

Former Baroka FC mentor Sello Chokoe says seeing the club in the Telkom Knockout final makes him proud of the foundation he helped lay during the five years he spent at Bakgaga.

READ: Baroka boss feels "born again" 

Chokoe was in charge of the Baroka team that made waves in the 2010/11 Nedbank Cup before they were knocked out in the semi-finals 3-1 via penalties by Limpopo neighbours Black Leopards.

READ: From SAB League to TKO final

On Saturday they face giants Orlando Pirates in the TKO decider at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth at 18h00.

"It always showed potential from back in the days in 2007," Chokoe tells KickOff.com.

"It then played almost five years in the ABC Motsepe (League). It went on to play in the NFD and finally in the PSL. It's just a question of step by step. The team has been promising since then. They have attracted a lot of good, young players since our good run in the Nedbank. They have [also] produced quite a few players for the other teams; those teams started to scout at Baroka.

"But when it comes to the cup final you know we had shown in our early days that we were a cup team. You will remember that we were unfortunate in 2010 not to reach the final of the Nedbank while we were still in the ABC Motsepe, losing to Black Leopards on penalties.

"Today, I feel that that semi-final, it was a good sign to say one day the team will go to the final. And here they are today having to face one of the big giants in Orlando Pirates in the final. I think for them to reach the final, I think it was a step ahead. If it doesn't happen that they win it now but they have shown that from the semi-final in the Nedbank, and now the final in the Telkom Knockout, even if they don't win, but the next time they go to the final - definitely they will win.

"They are on the verge of one day winning the final. One is proud to have worked almost five years there. Today the project is showing signs."

READ: Elvis has ample respect for the Buccaneers

Chokoe, the current coach of NFD promotion hopefuls Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC, also had some kind words to say about Bakgaga chairman Khurishi Mphahlele.

"Mphahlele is a person who likes football. He is a hands on in terms of running the team. Although he employs people, but he is there to oversee that everybody is doing their job. Players are happy and you know they are well taken care of, and he knows when they have got some problems. [He] tries to address them and help them with family problems ... whatever the case is. Sometimes he will bring players to the team, the recruitment, like Jomo Sono. He is that type of an owner you know. As much as he is a businessman, he still gives most of his time to his team.

"Unfortunately coaches come and go. Knowing Baroka, I worked for Baroka for five years and [Kgoloko] Thobejane coached them I think one year in the NFD and also two years in the PSL. So they are not really a team that prefers to chop and change the coaches."

Asked what plan he would implement against the Buccaneers tomorrow if he was still steering Baroka, Chokoe concedes Wedson Nyirenda's men have a daunting task ahead of them.

"Ja look, Pirates are favourites because of the quality of the players that they've got and the experience. And there's a lot of international players in their team from Zambia, the Zimbabwean [Marshall] Munetsi. South Africa, the [Vincent] Pules, [Thembinkosi] Lorch ... So ja, everything is against Baroka on the day. Ja football is a game of surprises but everything is in favour of Pirates to win.

"The good thing is these boys don't need motivation to play against Pirates. The fact that they are playing Pirates in the final, that's enough motivation. The coach needs to make sure that they don't get excited and make mistakes that will be costly. You know with youngsters you will always be surprised with what kind of mistakes they might make. Ja, they just need to control their emotions, focus on the game, try to play their normal game and not give [the ball] away ... not play their open game against Orlando Pirates because as I have said the quality that they have got there they will punish them heavily.

"Make sure that the game drags longer ... because they are the ones who are under pressure. It might happen that in the process they make a mistake and Baroka is able to capitalise on that. Ja, I think I would do that. I would try to make sure that Pirates don't score early in the game, and make sure that the game drags long without Pirates having scored. They will panic, they will try to do a lot of things that might actually hurt them also at a certain stage. Ja, I would plan first a 0-0 and try to win it maybe on penalties if possible, because penalties are a lottery."

Article by: Sipho Mlotha

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