News24.com | A big game but we prepare the same
Tapelo Xoki. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
- Orlando Pirates host Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 semi final.
- Both teams head into the game on the back of victories.
- New signing Tapelo Xoki highlights teamwork as being key to victory.
The top two teams in the DStv Premiership, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, face off in the first MTN8 semi-final clash at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
Sundowns, the MTN8 reigning champions, have by their own high standards shown a sign of rare vulnerability this season, succumbing to two league defeats. But they head into the game with a victory over AmaZulu.
Meanwhile Pirates, who last played a game nearly three weeks ago, head into the game on a high after beating TS Galaxy 2-0.
Having joined Pirates in the off season, defender Tapelo Xoki has had a relatively solid start to his Pirates career, featuring in six of the eight league games so far this season. Despite the relative importance of the game and with both teams in good form, Xoki remains calm and is not letting the pressure get to him.
“As coach (Jose Riveiro) said, we are looking at it as any other game and we do the preparations as we normally would do by focusing on what we do best and improve in areas we haven’t done very well,” said Xoki.
Xoxi refused to take the limelight and was full of praise for his teammates and highlighted their importance.
“It’s a team sport, it’s not about me or any individual and the role in the team. If I am given a chance, I have to do my role the best I can like everyone else.
“It is a big game but we have to treat it like every other game. We must prepare for the game as a group and make sure that we play as a team.”
When asked by reporters about how he adjusted to his new side, Xoki said the transition had been a rather smooth affair.
“Personally, I’ve adjusted to the club and teammates and I’m sure that they have also adjusted to me. It has been a transition that has been smooth for me,” said Xoki.
The defender also believes that the game may be a good test to see how far Pirates have come from previous seasons and how well they stack up to arguably the strongest team in the country.
“It will be a test for us to see how far we can go because they are the defending champions. For us, we want to go all the way but we need to beat everyone in front of us for this to happen.
“However, we are approaching this game to win, and to go all the way,” Xoki concluded.
Kick-off at Orlando Stadium is at 15:30 on Saturday.