Thabo Nthethe raring to go extra mile for Chilli Boys
Defender Thabo Nthethe is relishing a chance to get one over his former teammates when Chippa United face Mamelodi Sundowns in the Absa Premiership at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Saturday.
Nthethe, who once captained the former African champions, joined the Port Elizabeth-based professional soccer side at the start of the season and will be playing against his former teammates for the first time since his departure.
The 34-year-old said he was ready to go the extra mile to see to it that the Chilli Boys collected the three points at home.
He said their preparations for Saturday’s battle were well under way.
“The training is the same as when we prepare for other games. Nothing has changed,” Nthethe said at a media conference on Wednesday.
“The coach is working hard at making sure we are ready to play Sundowns and the guys are willing to work towards getting a positive result.
“It will be my first time playing against Sundowns since I left the team. It’s a game that I am looking forward to.
“Hopefully, I will have a good day.
“Playing against Sundowns is a good motivation for the players – they are a big team.
“We really want to have a good run and to beat them, especially since we are playing at home.”
Chippa have had a turbulent start to their league campaign this season, having only managed to bag eight points from eight matches.
They are 11th on the log with two wins, two draws and four defeats to their name.
A win against Sundowns would be the confidence boost the team needs going forward.
Meanwhile, red-hot Orlando Pirates winger Vincent Pule is among a handful of players who are likely to make their maiden appearance in the Soweto Derby at a sold-out FNB Stadium on Saturday.
But for Pule the game will be more about helping his team than worrying about making his debut in the Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs showpiece.
“For me, the focus is on Orlando Pirates‚” he said.
“As a team, we just want to see [us] playing good football and doing well.
“The derby is a big game – as a young kid you dream of playing in a derby.
“I think for me I just want to see Pirates doing well.”
Pule joined Pirates in July alongside former Bidvest Wits teammate Ben Motshwari‚ another new Bucs recruit who is set to appear in front of the 86,000-strong capacity crowd at the weekend.
Brazilian defender Da Silva Marcelo‚ who started in the Bucs’ last three matches‚ and attacking midfielder Paseko Mako‚ who has also made a couple of starts after joining the team from Chippa United‚ are the other Pirates players who could make the playing squad.
Bucs coach Milutin Sredojevic could also include gangling midfielder Linda Mntambo‚ signed from Chippa United in July‚ in his match-day squad.
Chiefs’ Italian coach Giovanni Solinas will be tempted to give Zimbabwean striker Khama Billiat a start in his first derby after recovering from injury, while Ugandan left back Godfrey Walusimbi looks almost certain to get the nod after playing most of Chiefs’ games since arriving from Kenyan outfit Gor Mahia in August.
- Additional reporting by Sazi Hadebe/TimesLIVE