Malesela sets sights on semis

Chippa United coach Dan Malesela
Chippa United coach Dan Malesela

Chippa United coach Dan Malesela has set his sights on reaching the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup this season, a level the club has never achieved in the tournament.

Chippa host National First Division side Witbank Spurs in the last-32 stage of the competition at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium tonight (kickoff 7.30pm).

The Chilli Boys do not boast a good record in the Nedbank Cup and the Port Elizabeth-based team has never been able to pass the knockout stages of the tournament in five attempts.

Last season, they were knocked out by then NFD side Baroka and in the previous year it was ABC Motsepe League side Natal United who took Chippa out of the race for honours.

Now Malesela is determined to take Chippa through to the semis this season, saying there is always a first time.

“We broke so many myths [in the league]. First time in the top eight and there are a lot of first times that we have broken,” the former Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns defender said.

“There is a lot more that we need to break and this is one of them.

“This is the last cup for the season – we have to try and get as far as we can. Far, I mean probably beyond the semis.

“We are looking at that but I am not going to start saying, ‘We are going to win the cup’. No, we are being realistic.

“We respect other teams as well who are in the league and in the cup competition. They are also competing. They want the same thing we want.

“So, we will treat them with respect but also try to push forward.”

Chippa have not won in seven matches and Malesela says that is a worrying factor at the moment.

“For me, personally, it’s the first time that I have lost so many games,” he said.

“It’s a worrying factor, but you sort of have consolation in how the team is performing.

“You look at the performance and you say, is it justified? I think the only game one can really say ‘here we really needed to lose’ was against Platinum Stars.”

Chippa will be without key striker Rhulani Manzini and Andile Mbenyane tonight due to injury.

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