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Football | Absa Premiership

Mame Niang © Backpagepix

Tuks to shoot for the Stars



Free State Stars are ready to bounce back from their Telkom Knockout heartache when they host the University of Pretoria for an Absa Premiership encounter on Wednesday evening at the Charles Mopeli Stadium, kick-off at 19h30.

The Ea Lla Koto come into the game on the back of having suffered a semifinal elimination in the Telkom Knockout to Bloemfontein Celtic, in which they were denied of making history for the first time in 13 years should they had reached the final.

But according to Noah Chivuta they are not letting that get the better of his side as they look to take the positives from the Cup form.

“We did a good job [in the Telkom Knockout] but unfortunately we didn’t go through,” he says. “We didn’t do much in the extra time of the game, but there are a lot of positives we can take and we are looking forward to bouncing back.

“I think we will have to take our chances. Against Celtic we created a lot, but we lacked in utilising them. We need to score more and we have been working on that.”

AmaTuks have shown some impressive form this season and the Zambian believes it boils down to the ‘unknown element’ they possessed coming into the Premiership, but he is confident Free State Stars knows them well enough to win.

“Because they are new comers to the league everyone knew little about them, but now that we have seen them, we know their players and their strengths,” he adds.

“When they started it was difficult for people to face them and they surprised at first, but now we are even with them.”

Steve Barker’s men suffered a rare set-back in their impressive run in which they were held to a 1-1 draw to Mamelodi Sundowns in their last outing and it will be the first time they head to the Free State to take on Stars.

“I think psychologically traveling to play Free State Stars is never easy. Obviously this time of year it will be hot and dry, and therefore physically tough,” admits Tuks’ midfielder Warren Bishop.

“We are well aware of the conditions and have trained accordingly to face them on Wednesday evening.

“Now that they have been knock out of the Telkom Knockout will play a little in our hands, but we know that they are a resilient hard working team that are guided by an astute coach in [Steve] Komphela.

“They have been consistent this season especially at home, so we will concentrate on our good form going into the match.”

Bishop admits that Free State Stars’ elimination may not come at the best time for Tuks, because they would want to prove a point, but he is confident in what his side can bring to the table due to their versatility.

“I believe on the day Stars will try and maintain their league form and be ready for us. They will want to carry on climbing the table and momentum after their loss in the Telkom Knockout.

“We are a team that can mix it up. We will continue to be consistent with our hard work ethic. We know that we need to get back on track. We have a decent away form and hopefully we come away with another win,” concluded Bishop.

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