Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Telkom Knockout

Alex Bapela and Boebie Solomons © Gallo Images

Celtic running game key - Bapela



Mamelodi Sundowns will win the Telkom Knockout final on Saturday if they can stifle the running game of Bloemfontein Celtic, according to assistant coach Alex Bapela.

The two sides meet in the competition decider at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, where the Brazilians will be aiming to win their first trophy in over four years dating back to mid-2008.

“If we can stop them from running, especially their forward line, that's where we can probably win the game,” Bapela told reporters on Thursday.

Celtic's attacking style have won many admirers en-route to the final, particularly their victories over Orlando Pirates and Free State Stars in the quarter and semifinal respectively.

“This Celtic side is the most exciting team in the PSL," Bapela said.

"They've got very good players, they've got athletes and they've got players that can run for the entire 90 minutes.

“So playing against them you have to make sure that you do not make a mistake at any time, the first minute or the 90th minute. They are very good.”

The Pretoria outfit are in search of their third Telkom Knockout crown and first in 13 years – they last lifted the cup in 1999.

However, their run to the final has been overshadowed by their woeful Premiership form that has seen them win just twice in 12 games to sit second-bottom on the log.

Bapela was quizzed about the reasoning for their contrasting fortunes in the two competitions. He said it was probably down to the attitude of the players.

“A cup game is a once-off thing; you play now and you are in the next round and that's what matters most,” he explained.

“In the league, I think most our players are holding back, they are not exerting themselves as much as they have been doing in the cup.

“That's why we are struggling in the league and playing to a draw or allowing the other team to score in the last minute. In the cup you score one goal and you are through.”

The Sundowns No 2 also defended under-fire coach Johan Neeskens for his comments at the start of the season when he stated he will ‘resign' if the club failed to win anything in 2012/13.

“I think it's good for him to say that and even if I was him, I would have also said it,” Bapela said.

“The more you have pressure, the harder you push yourself to achieve success.

“In football there is always pressure and pressure has to be your middle name. Him being under pressure, means it pushes Sundowns to go the extra mile to work very hard.”

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R161.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
Mitre Monde Soccer Ball - White
Voted as one of the UK's favourite match balls
R219.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Dr Errol Sweeney
German ref epitomised what refereeing is all about
I’m regularly asked what is required to be a top class referee in soccer. What are the basics, the...

Segun Odegbami
Barcelona on my mind
I guess every reader of this column knows by now that I am a fan of Barcelona.

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Jose's feeling the heat
Many of my regular readers here will know I am neither a Jose Mourinho apologist nor a cult...

John Dykes
Make the call, ref!
Here’s an excerpt from an alternative, purely fictitious match report from Saturday’s Barclays...

Carol Radull
Arsenal, it's good to be third
I love making Manchester United supporters angry. And nowadays it’s so easy to do that.

Neil Tovey
Who scored in the transfer window?
The January transfer window is challenging as you are either getting players who are short of game...