Mapeza changes tune on Telkom Cup

GIVE IT A CRACK: Chippa United head coach Norman Mapeza during the media open day at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday
GIVE IT A CRACK: Chippa United head coach Norman Mapeza during the media open day at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday

Chippa United coach Norman Mapeza has had a change of heart and is now taking a serious shot at trying to win the Telkom Knockout Cup.

The Chill Boys play Mamelodi Sundowns at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

After the team’s 2-0 defeat to Highlands Park on Saturday evening, the Zimbabwean coach, 47, said the Absa Premiership was his priority.

“We are not going to put much emphasis on that Telkom Cup with our position on the log.

“We will play against Sundowns and see what happens,” Mapeza said at the time.

“But much of our concentration is focused on the league.”

However, there seems to have a turnaround in the coach’s thinking.

At Wednesday’s pre-match presser at the Nelson Mandela Mandela Bay Stadium he said he would be taking the cup game seriously.

“We are playing a very good team. I think everybody knows Sundowns,” the coach said.

 “As for how our preparations [are going], I can’t complain. So far things have been good.

“Of course we still have some guys who are out and who are injured.

“We have Thabo Rakhale and Mzikayise Mashaba who are still out due to  injuries, and some other guys who are not feeling well.

“But I hope come Sunday everybody will be OK.

“As for us as a club, we are taking this tournament very seriously.

“Everybody knows our position on the log but now our focus is more on the Telkom Knockout Cup.

“We really want to push and see how far we will go.”

He said winning on Sunday would boost the players’ confidence.

“It’s always good to reach any final of any cup competition.

“It’s very important for us to go there with a positive attitude and with a winning mentality, so that we see ourselves progressing to the next round.”

The Chilli Boys beat Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 to book themselves a spot in the quarterfinals of the competition.

The win against Siwelele saw the Port Elizabeth-based side secure their first victory of the season.

However, the team remain winless in the league.

Chippa are rock bottom on the log with four points from nine games.

Asked how he planned to change the situation at the club, Mapeza said: “We just have to keep working hard.

“It’s all about the determination, belief and a positive attitude — I think those things will see us through.

“There are quality players here, but I think there are some other departments where we might need one or two players to beef up the squad.”