“We are not Orlando Pirates – we are Chippa United”.
This was Chippa United assistant coach Mbuyiselo Sambu’s response when asked if the 6-0 thrashing of Orlando Pirates by defending Premier Soccer League Mamelodi Sundowns had not made them fear coming up against the African champions at Mdantsane’s Sisa Dukashe Stadium tonight (kick-off 7.30pm).
The Chilli Boys lock horns with the Brazilians in a potential humdinger as both sides like to play attractive carpet football.
Coach Pitso Mosimane’s men will be oozing with confidence following the 6-0 drubbing and total humiliation of the Soweto giants on Saturday.
But Sambu said Sundowns thrashing Pirates had not resulted in players fearing facing the Chloorkop side.
“We will focus on our task and what we want to achieve as a team. We always give every team we play against the necessary respect.
“You can’t play football when you have fear or doubts crowding your mind. That’s the first defeat on its own if you go to a game with doubts and fears,” he said.
“Fear is not an option. Confidence is very important for us. We are not Pirates – we are Chippa United. We don’t even play the same brand of football.”
Coach Dan “Dance” Malesela’s charges also go into the game high in confidence after beating Baroka FC 2-1 in their first game of 2017 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
East London has also been a happy hunting ground for the Port Elizabeth-based team. The team started its Mdantsane venture with a convincing 2-0 victory against struggling Highlands Park in December.
Even though Sundowns have supporters nationwide, the hosts are expected to have more fans in the stadium as the PSL-starved East Londoners are expected to pack the venue.
Home advantage alone will not be enough for the Chilli Boys to get the better of the Caf team of the year.
“We’ll try our utmost best to use the home advantage and at least we do get the results here. But that doesn’t guarantee us the results.
“If you rely on home advantage and not put in the effort, there’s no way you will get good results.
“We still have to work very hard and smart. We can’t take anything for granted because Sundowns is a very, very good and experienced team,” said the former Bush Bucks and Chippa defender.
Chippa will be eager for three points which will take them to the top eight. Currently, the team is on position nine with 19 points from 15 games.
After playing 11 games, Downs are fifth with 25 points. The team has been clinical in the league so far, winning eight times, sharing the spoils once and losing twice.
The Brazilians have not only been playing good football but have also been banging in the goals while the team has been sound defensively.
Sundowns spokesman Thulani Thuswa said they will show the Chilli Boys the respect that they deserve.
“The coach has said that one of the teams that always give us a run for our money is Chippa because they keep the ball just like us.
“We have nothing but respect for the Chilli Boys but Sundowns has a mission and that is to defend our title and be at the top of the log as soon as possible so that we’ll be able to concentrate on the Caf Champions League,” he said.
Thuswa heaped praise on Malesela.
“They are not where they are on the log by chance. What Bra Dan is doing with that team is remarkable.
“We have no doubt that the atmosphere will be electrifying at the stadium. We are definitely not expecting a walk in the park,” he said.
Sisa Dukashe, which will be hosting its first night game, was given the thumbs up by the PSL last year.
Buffalo City Metro mayor Xola Pakati also declared the venue ready for tonight’s game.