Tshepo Ntsoelengoe
Football Writer
2 minute read
23 Apr 2016
10:15 am

Matlaba rallies his troops for Sundowns clash

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

As captain of Orlando Pirates, Thabo Matlaba says he has to redouble his efforts to make sure everyone is geared up in each and every game they play.

Thabo Matlab during the Orlando Pirates media open day at Orlando Stadium. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

The leftback revealed that his workload has become excessive both in playing and keeping his team-mates going to give the best performance.

But now, with the team going up against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup quarterfinal today, he said games like this don’t need the players to be motivated.

“There is no need to motivate the players, the game is a motivation by itself. It is a big game for us. It’s like playing Kaizer Chiefs – there is no motivation needed when we play them. We know we have to go and play because we know what Sundowns are capable of, so it is motivation by itself,” said Matlaba.

“We are facing Mamelodi Sundowns, so it will be a tough match. We have been preparing well. We know what we are going to do. It won’t be an easy game, but we are ready.”

With Downs having a host of quality individual players who can turn a game around on any given day, Matlaba says Pirates’ focus is on Sundowns, not individual players. “We know they have some good individual players who have been playing very well for them, but it’s about the whole team.”

The Pirates skipper praised his team-mate Tendai Ndoro for his efforts. The Zimbabwean forward is the competition’s current joint top scorer with four to his name along with Bidvest Wits winger Daine Klate.

Ndoro has been a key member of the Pirates squad in their recent return to good form, but Matlaba is not really surprised by the striker’s abilities.

“He has been doing extremely well and I am happy for him. Even at training, we know when it is one-on-one, he won’t miss the chance. We are confident of his play, even if he doesn’t chase back. We know when we give him the ball he will put it in the back of the net.”

In today’s other fixture, Free State Stars host Bidvest Wits, while Polokwane City take on Baroka FC at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium tomorrow.