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Football | Nedbank Cup

SuperSport United © Gallo Images

United out to defend their Cup title



SuperSport United will go out to defend their Nedbank Cup title when they visit Chippa United in the semifinals at Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 3:00pm.

The Tshwane giants claimed the tournament last season as they beat Orlando Pirates, who are also in the semis. They are now in the hunt to retain the title.

Having lost the race to bag the Absa Premiership, coach Stuart Baxter will want to leave the club with a trophy after he was reappointed as Bafana Bafana coach.

However, the encounter has a special ingredient as the Tshwane giants will be hoping to avenge the 3-0 defeat they suffered in the league against Chippa on Wednesday night.

Before reaching this stage, SuperSport beat Kaizer Chiefs in the semifinals, Kwa-Dukuza United before that, and Royal Eagles in the last 32 with a narrow 2-1 victory.

Ahead of this match, SuperSport will be motivated to ensure they finish their 2016-17 Premier Soccer League season with a gold medal.

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SuperSport striker Thabo Mnyamane says they aim to beat Chippa and go on to defend the cup in order to qualify for next year's Caf Confederation Cup.

"We want to successfully defend our Ke Yona title,” Mnyamane said.

“We want to be the first team to retain the cup, but that doesn’t mean we should put pressure on ourselves.

"We are looking to play in Africa again next season and can’t ignore that winning the cup gets us there. It might be the same teams but the result won’t be the same."

Shifting focus to the hosts, the Chilli Boys are also motivated to have reached this stage of the tournament for the first time in their history.

Under the guidance of coach Dan Malesela, the Eastern Cape-based side defied all odds and progressed past the last 32.

They beat Jomo Cosmos, Polokwane City and Witbank Spurs to maximise their chances of ending the season with silverware.

Playing in front of the Mdantsane supporters brings a huge boost to the hosts, and the atmosphere could spur them to bag their second win over SuperSport in a week.

Having eased their relegation concerns for now, Chippa are also boosted by the return of coach Malesela, who was placed on special leave by the club's hierarchy.

The Chippa gaffer, who is eyeing his first major trophy as a coach, is expecting a totally different SuperSport when the two sides lock horns again.

"If I say I don't want this team to go to the final of the Nedbank Cup, I'd be lying. For me football is football," Malesela said

"It doesn't matter whether you played at the league level or at cup level. If you want to show that you are in football you've got to have trophies, you've got to have medals, and this is a chance.

"When it's there why not take it? We need to use it if it's available and we're going to take this game as seriously as possible," he added.

"I know we'll be facing a totally different team on Saturday, but for me sometimes personnel doesn't really matter but it's how we express ourselves on the day and handle ourselves that counts."

SuperSport will be without the suspended Keegan Ritchie. The defender was red carded against the Chilli Boys in midweek.



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