Das Neves cautious

VASCO da Gama coach Carlos das Neves remains modest about his side's chances of earning automatic promotion to the Absa Premiership on Sunday despite holding Black Leopards to a 1-all draw in the first leg of their promotion playoff in Thohoyandou last Saturday.

The second leg takes place in Cape Town on Sunday, with kickoff at 3.30pm.

"It would be unwise for us to take out the champagne before the match. We will continue with our normal training programme and I don't see why we should change our strategy for this match," Das Neves said.

"Our aim is to score early to unsettle them and we have the ability to do so. It was important for us to score away from home in the first leg and this has put us in a good position to win at home. But we aren't getting carried away for this crucial game at home and we will continue to put on a brave fight on Sunday.

"I can't talk about us winning promotion on Sunday. The game of football is full of surprises."

Marvin Bean, who was injured in the first leg, is a doubtful starter for the Cape side, but Das Neves will pin his hopes on former Bafana Bafana striker Bradley August, Zeka Karkee, Zane Hendriks, Michelin Matondo and Geoffrey Sserunkuma.

Leopards general manager Sam Khaphathe said they were well-prepared for the encounter.

"We have worked on rectifying our mistakes with special focus on creating and converting chances, something we failed to do in the first leg. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to return to the elite league," Khaphathe said yesterday.

Leopards will be without the injured Edward Tshabalala and inspirational captain Peter Mponda, who is suspended.

Players like Walter Ramulondi, Robert Ng'ambi, Mahlatse Maake, Grant Lingu and Christopher Netshidzivhe will carry Leopards' hopes.