Celtic ready to send Bucs packing in Cup

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

While noting Orlando Pirates' strength in all departments, Bloemfontein Celtic's publicist Sello Nduna strongly believes Phunya Selesele will advance to the quarterfinals of the Absa Cup at the Bucs' expence on Sunday.

They meet in the last 16 stage of the Cup of Dreams at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. Kickoff is at 3.15pm.

Pirates return to the same venue where they were hammered 3-1 by Celtic in the first round of the Castle Premiership.

Nduna said they were ready, willing and able to upset Pirates on Sunday.

"Please don't get me wrong here, we are taking Pirates very seriously and we will be cautious throughout the match," said Nduna yesterday.

"The defeat [4-0] against Kaizer Chiefs has woken us up and we are now more than ready for this match. We can't afford to disappoint our supporters again."

Pirates travel to Bloemfontein on the back of two stalemates against Silver Stars and AmaZulu and they will surely fight with gusto to find the net this time round.

Floyd Mbele, Bucs' administrator, yesterday said they were not concerned that they failed to score in those matches.

"This has presented our coach with an opportunity to identify the factors that led us not to convert scoring opportunities," Mbele said.

"We are also not taking Celtic lightly and we will be cautious against them. Though we don't regard this match as revenge, we need a result. We want to improve on the stage that we reached in the Absa Cup last year."

This means that Pirates are very keen to lift this cup this time round because they reached the finals last season. They were, however, beaten 5-3 on penalties by Kaizer Chiefs, in Durban, in an absorbing encounter.

While Mbele announced a clean bill of health in the Bucs camp, Celtic will still be without some of their key players.

Moses Spandeel, Carlo Scott and Patrick Malokase are out injured, but the likes of Bafana Bafana duo Petros Mahlatsi and James Madidilane could give Pirates a torrid afternoon.

Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi and Jabu Mahlangu have lately formed a deadly combination for Bucs in the middle of the park and they could prove a handful for the Free Staters.