Orlando Pirates assistant coach Sergio Almenara says it won’t be an issue for their players to control their emotions in the sold-affair of the MTN8 final against Mamelodi Sundowns at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
Almenara said only one person was sent off the last time when they played against Mamelodi Sundowns last month at Orlando Stadium, which was an emotionally charged game, which saw their second assistant coach Mandla Ncikazi sent off.
Emotions spilled over as Ncikazi was red carded and he will miss the MTN8 final when these two iconic Mzansi’s sides collide in Durban.
As that happened, Sundowns looked better composed. They found their way, with Themba Zwane feeling the click inside the box from Sphephelo Baloni and that was given as a spot kick.
Lucas Ribeiro Costa converted the penalty and Pirates players, in an incident that went against them, protested, leading to Thabang Monare and Sipho Chaine being one of those players who were yellow carded on the day.
Emotions will be heightened considering that this is a do or die match since it is a final, with the winner receiving a prize money of R8 million while the loser will receive R800,000 just like all the other six teams.
“We are talking about one individual, right? That doesn’t mean that everyone is the same,” said Almenara.
“We are facing the game as usual, with the confidence that we have been working well during the week, with the confidence that we have a quality enough to face a good team in various conditions, that’s all.”
However, Pirates were able to control their emotions better when these two sides met in the second leg of the same competitions last season, with the Soweto giants walking away victorious -3-0 at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
In fact, it was felt in the Sundowns boardroom as Rulani Mokwena was named the club’s head coach.
Pirates, having glided past Sundowns, went all the way to win the competition, beating AmaZulu 1-0 also at the same venue in November last year.