Masalesa aware of expectations

Nedbank Cup

That mission to win the Nedbank Cup will also get Pirates back into playing on the continent next year – a territory in which they have thrived.

However, the immediate hurdle is poised by Jomo Cosmos in the last 16 with the Buccaneers travelling to Olen Park on Sunday afternoon (15h00).

“We fully agree with the fans on that,” admits Masalelsa upon being asked by if he feels winning the Nedbank Cup will make up for the mess they have made of this season.

“We are also well aware that this is the only tournament remaining this season for us to maybe get a trophy. So this is an important competition for us and I think we have one eye on getting back to playing in Africa and this is the one opportunity to achieve that,” he says.

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With the ambition to return to play in the CAF Confederation Cup next year, does the load of playing in a Nedbank Cup fixture become heavier on the shoulders of Pirates players considering the weight of expectation for this cup?

“Not necessarily,” he responds.

“This is because playing for a club like Orlando Pirates there is always pressure. It doesn’t matter which competition it is. Maybe for us as players we are the ones adding the pressure onto ourselves because we really enjoy playing in Africa and maybe because the League is now a bit out of our reach then maybe this is where we could be able to salvage something.

“I also think that it’s important not only for us as players but for the entire club to at least give our fans something to cheer about come end of the season because the Nedbank Cup is the last game of the season and hopefully we will be there in the latter stages and hopefully lifting the trophy,” he explains.

The 24-year-old has been content with yet another season of being used sparingly, with just eight starts to his name in all competitions. He has also received two red cards this season.