The Team of Choice held off a spirited Bloemfontein Celtic at the Harry Gwala Stadium last weekend to record a 2-1 win and book themselves a spot in the semi-finals against Mamelodi Sundowns.
Coach Fadlu Davids felt it could have been a more comfortable victory, but was nevertheless pleased to go through. Another positive aspect for coach Fadlu was the way his squad was able to absorb the loss of several senior first team regulars such as Pogiso Sanoka and Bevan Fransman (suspended) and Brian Onyango (injured).
“Fantastic first half, though we could have wrapped it up 3-0,” he said. “Again in the second half, having some opportunities, we should have killed of the game after a really good start and a really good first half. We knew Celtic would come back with a lot of long balls into the box. And of course we knew we were thin defensively.
“But we managed to go through to the next round and that’s the most important thing. I can’t yet be proud, because there is nothing to show for it yet. It’s just a semi-final, we have to try get to the final.
“Rushine De Reuck, Motsi Matima, they’re from the Diski side. We have a squad of 25 players and four goalkeepers, those 25 players are our first team and Diski squads. So when DIski players come into the first team, we have to go to the Castle team to bring more players thorough. We have a small squad, but we trust each and every one to be able to come in and do the job.”
The important thing now for coach Fadlu is to keep his players grounded, to make sure they take things one game at a time.
“As I told the players, we’ve been getting praise, but we have to set the next goal, go to the next step, not just be happy with where we are. But of course it’s great that we are in the hat for the semis, anything can happen in football.
“You’ll hear the players talking about their thinking, and how they have to control their thinking, that is part of football, to not only train the technical and the tactical part, but the thinking of the player. The thinking a lot of the time determines the output, that’s a major factor we are working on with these young players.”
With the action coming thick and fast, the Team of Choice must for now forget about the Nedbank Cup and look throw all their energy back into the Absa Premiership.
“Now we have to refocus for the league, important game against Wits on Tuesday, and then Cape Town City on Saturday,” said coach Fadlu.
“We must not forgot we are facing the champions. They are still the champions, their form in the recent period has possibly been the best in the league. We’re facing them in league-winning form, so really, a tough game ahead.”
Fransman and Sanoka return from suspension for the game, but Deolin Mekoa and Fortune Makaringe are banned. The match against the Clever Boys takes place at the Bidvest Stadium at 7-30pm on Tuesday, 3 April.
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