ORLANDO Pirates midfield maestro and captain, Oupa “Ace” Manyisa, may be the player carrying the hopes of the lacklustre Bucaneers to lift the Nedbank Cup.
Coach Kjell Jonevrete has been impressed by the improvement Manyisa has shown in the past few games.
“When I arrived, everybody talked that Oupa had been a little bit down, and has lost a little bit of shape and his form hasn’t been so good. But I think he has been a key player for us in the past 5/6 games I have been here.
“He is important for us in both ways. He does a lot of work in defence and also very comfortable on the ball. So, he is important.”
Manyisa is expected to come to the party in the middle of the park, and show his pedigree when the Buccaneers meet Bloemfontein Celtic in the Nedbank Cup quarterfinal match at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
He will be vital in making sure that the team augurs well in the middle of the park especially now that his form is close to the best.
The Buccaneers lost 2-1 to Celtic in the first leg of the ABSA Premiership tie, and this time they will be hoping for revenge in a cup match which may propel them to the semifinals of the 2017 Ke Yona Cup.
They have scored seven goals so far in the competition. They edged out EC Bees 3-1 in the Last 32 round and Free State Stars 4-1 in the Last 16 on their road to the quarter-finals stage.
The fact that they managed to register their first ABSA Premiership victory this year last week will also add to their confidence.
But in the two games they have played in the Ke Yona Cup, they haven’t managed to keep the clean sheet, conceding in each game – the element that gives the Buccaneer’s mentor sleepless nights ahead of the Celtic encounter.
“When we have the ball, I want more players to be involved. Sometimes it looks a little bit like we pass the ball and stay. We have to be better there and we are looking forward to that one (Celtic encounter).”
Jonevrete was disappointed that his team failed to score a single goal as they shared the spoils in a goalless draw with Highlands Park in a league encounter last weekend.
This remain something that he is hopeful won’t happen on Saturday night. “Yes, always I want goals. I want to win every game,” he said.
Kick-off is scheduled for 20h30.