aces dealt tough hand

MPUMALANGA Black Aces' coach Akis Ayiomamitis can't be having peaceful nights as he contemplates his schedule in the next couple of days.

MPUMALANGA Black Aces' coach Akis Ayiomamitis can't be having peaceful nights as he contemplates his schedule in the next couple of days.

Ayiomamitis's team hosts Absa Premiership champions SuperSport United in the Telkom Knockout on Sunday, before welcoming Nathi Lions three days later in the National First Division playoffs.

Playing against United is a big ask for anyone, but Ayiomamitis has tacitly admitted that he finds the battle to survive in the premier league a much more critical task.

"I can't single out any match between the two as an important one. We will take each match as it comes because all these matches are equally important. There is a lot at stake in the Telkom Knockout, and I can't deny the fact that the money on offer is tempting, hence we have to be at our best to go as far as we can in this competition," Ayiomamitis said.

United's striker Anthony Laffor said the league celebrations were a thing of the past, and that they had regained their appetite for winning, which had briefly deserted them towards the end of the league.

Gavin Hunt's team slumped to two consecutive losses, and while some of their first-team players are away in Brazil with Bafana Bafana, the fringe players could be more hungry.

"We are not just showing up," said Laffor. "This match is very important for us, we want a win. The league is history, this is a whole new tournament and we are very focused. Everybody is willing to do the job.

"While we wish the national team players all the best, there is business to take care of at home. We have a lot of respect for Aces. They are good side but we are determined to win."

The match at Puma Stadium kicks off at 3pm.

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