We can beat Sundowns – Van Heerden
It has not taken Marc van Heerden long to settle in at Chippa United and adopt the winning culture coach Dan Malesela has established.
Malesela is making his players believe they can win anything and if they play the way they did in their 2-0 victory over Platinum Stars in the MTN8 quarterfinal a couple of weeks ago, then Chippa certainly have what it takes to challenge for silverware this season.
Chippa played Stars off the park at Royal Bafokeng Stadium of all places and Van Heerden believes they would send out an even stronger message if they were to beat Mamelodi Sundowns in the two-legged semifinal, which starts at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday (3pm).
“If you believe in it, then why not,” Van Heerden, who says he is enjoying himself at Chippa after joining them from AmaZulu, said.
“I can’t see why we cannot win the competition. We can make a statement by getting a win [against Sundowns] in the first leg.
“If we can win this competition, then there’s an opportunity to grow the belief within the team.
“This is a platform to show what we are capable of doing and this will help with confidence going forward.”
Chippa players are playing with so much confidence because their coach has given them freedom to express themselves.
They are likely to dominate possession, but it will mean nothing if they are unable to find a chink in the Sundowns armour.
What is also important for Chippa is to keep a clean sheet at home. However, it will take some serious concentration throughout the 90 minutes to stop the threat posed by the likes of Sibusiso Vilakazi, Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly.
“We need to respect them, but we don’t have to fear them,” Van Heerden said.
“We need to concentrate on what we need to do and the football we play. If we can go to Sundowns [in the second leg] without conceding a goal, then it’s a big plus. We are motivated.”
Van Heerden has warned that there is a lot more to come from their coach Malesela, who has recently been described as a “new sensation” by his counterpart Pitso Mosimane.
“He’s a coach of high expectations in terms of playing with the ball at your feet. You have to get perfection out of your game. He has a lot of insight into the game of football. He’s still got a lot to offer and show everybody.”
Meanwhile, Cape Town City excitedly await their first away trip this weekend as they head to Bidvest Wits for the first leg of their MTN8 semifinal.
City coach Eric Tinkler says the showdown against his onform former club will be a massive challenge for his charges tomorrow night.
Tinkler worked at Wits for a decade‚ including a stint as caretaker coach‚ but it is from his more recent time at Orlando Pirates that he is acutely aware of what lies in store for the new club at the weekend.
“It’s going to be a massive task as Wits have shown during the past four seasons that they are right up there‚” he said.
“But I’m a competitor and I don’t shy away from a challenge.
“There’ll be no friendship when we face them.”
City’s surprisingly strong start to the new season has the club in a buoyant mood, although Tinkler says they are far from the finished article.
“Against Kaizer Chiefs‚ on transition we were not good enough, but we can work on that and it is something we can certainly get better on‚” the coach said of their last outing – a shock 1-0 home win over the cup kings in the MTN8 quarterfinals.
“But the squad have shown motivation and determination‚ and that makes me happy going forward.
“I love to see these guys grow and to see how they are gelling and moulding together as a team.
“We’ve built the team first from the back with a solid defence. Obviously we have to be realistic about our targets. Building a whole new team does not happen overnight‚” he added.
City‚ who beat Polokwane City in their first league game and have yet to concede a goal‚ have since their last game sold Aubrey Modiba to SuperSport United and brought in Thato Mokeke in his place.
“Mokeke’s versatility is key – when he was playing for Ajax he was used as a centre-back‚ left-back and he also played on the left side of midfield. It’s good to have such versatility.”
But there was no guarantee the new man would make the lineup tomorrow night‚ the coach added.