Ncikazi calm before derby storm

Bucs assistant feels mental strength will be key

Neville Khoza Journalist
Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi.
Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu

Orlando Pirates assistant coach Mandla Ncikazi appeared calm yesterday ahead of his first official Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium tomorrow at 3.30pm.

Even though he was on the bench when Pirates lost to Chiefs in the preseason Carling Black Label Cup in August, tomorrow's clash is entirely different and Ncikazi is aware of the expectations.

“It was not an official match like the PSL, but I was here when the Carling Black Label cup was played. So I have a bit of experience,” Ncikazi told the media yesterday in Johannesburg.

“It is not a normal fixture. You see that at training and you see that with the behaviour of the players: the silence when there is normal noise, the effort you see at training. Then it tells you that this is not the normal fixture. 

“Sometimes the fact that they don’t know what to expect much from us becomes an advantage, but what matters the most is the mental factors on the day of the match. If your mental aspect is not on point, you will be on the losing side. We must use the previous match as a positive.”

Pirates head into this fixture on the back of a 2-1 victory over Sekhukhune United on Tuesday, while Chiefs lost 1-0 to Stellenbosch the same day.

But Ncikazi stressed that the recent results from both teams will count for nothing.

“Your strength could be your weakness. We don’t want to fall into the trap thinking that since we won the previous match, then it gives us the right to win the next one,” he said.

“Derbies have no history, derbies have no form. It is how prepared you are on the day. It is how players execute whatever has been planned at training and it is a game where you can make fewer mistakes.

“The opportunities that we create, because there might not be many chances, we [must] take them. We are creating better opportunities. We are just not ruthless.

“But I understand it is a process, a change of personnel, a change maybe in the structure of how we play – it is not similar to our previous colleague. Maybe it takes time and maybe we are expecting too much too soon.” 

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