Franco insists AmaZulu not feeling compelled to go to final

Usuthu coach asserts semifinal is the easiest game for head coaches

30 November 2023 - 07:30
By Sihle Ndebele
AmaZulu FC media open day at Kings Park Outer Fields in Durban on Tuesday
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart AmaZulu FC media open day at Kings Park Outer Fields in Durban on Tuesday

AmaZulu coach Pablo Franco has disputed that the Carling Knockout final being billed for their backyard, Moses Mabhida Stadium, puts added pressure on them to make sure that they reach it.

AmaZulu host TS Galaxy in the competition’s semifinals at the same venue Sunday (3pm). Franco has insisted that they are not necessarily feeling compelled to go to the final because it’ll be played in their backyard on December 16.

“Yes we have a responsibility to win, especially because the final will be played at our venue, Moses Mabhida, but that doesn’t mean we are under pressure,” said Franco, whose recent piece of silverware as a coach was the Kuwait Super Cup with Qadsia in the 2019/20 season.

“I am not under pressure... I‘ve played many semifinals and finals before. I won most of them, I lost one. I would like to play one more cup final and win it of course, but pressure? No. I am talking to some of the players and they don’t feel pressure at all.”

The Usuthu coach also asserted that the quarterfinals are the easiest games for coaches as players get motivated automatically, knowing winning guarantees them a spot in the final. 

“It [the semifinal] is the easiest game for head coaches. You don’t need any motivation... you don’t need to say anything to the players. I am trying to be natural,” Franco said.

The Spaniard is also of the view that their last outing, a 1-0 league defeat at home to fellow CKO semifinalists Stellenbosch last weekend, prepared them for Galaxy. Franco believes Galaxy and Stellies play the same way. 

“We are trying to show our players the things to correct from our last game against Stellenbosch,” the Usuthu coach said.

“I think Sunday’s game is going to be similar to the game we lost to Stellenbosch last Saturday... it’s two opponents who are more or less playing the same style, same formation, same characteristics. So it’s an advantage to have played Stellenbosch before playing Galaxy.”