Maluti ready to slay again
BRING on the next giants, says Morena Ramoreboli, coach of Nedbank Cup giant-slayers Maluti FET College.
The third-tier side caused a major upset on Saturday when they advanced to the competition's last 16 by knocking out Soweto giants Orlando Pirates in emphatic fashion with a 4-1 victory.
Ramoreboli, a former African Warriors assistant coach in the National First Division, believes no team can stand in their way to continue their fairy-tale run.
He says his charges are ready to face and upset another Premiership side in the competition.
"I'm ready to play any of those big teams that have gone through because we will not be under any pressure when we play them. The pressure is on them," said the coach, whose confidence and flamboyance are reminiscent of Lucio Antunes, the coach of 2013 Nations Cup surprise package Cape Verde.
Ramoreboli promised professionalism from his side ahead of the clash with the Bucs, and delivered on match-day.
The students from Phuthaditjhaba matched the Buccaneers technically and tactically, and went one better by out-scoring the team whose players they idolise.
The coach was calm after the game and not overwhelmed by the feat his unknown side had achieved. He had meticulously planned the demise of the defending Premiership champions in the competition, and now his job will be to keep cool heads in his camp following his club's greatest achievement to date.
"I'm excited and I knew that if the boys could just concentrate they would do well. They did just that and I'm proud of them. It's all about commitment and you get what you want," the coach said.
"They know that this is not a miracle - this was bound to happen. So this won't change their lives overnight. They just need to remain focused, but they can be proud of themselves."
How did the coach motivate his players and ensure that they were not overwhelmed by the occasion of playing a side which has won two trebles in succession in the last two seasons?
"It was all about getting them mentally prepared as well as some introspection.
"It was the first time in my coaching career that I motivated players the way I did. I had to remind them who they are and where they come from.
"That is why they played like that because they knew they had to play with all their hearts, because their futures could depend on this positive result," says Ramoreboli.
This may be a fairy tale other football minnows dream of, but for Maluti, there are more important things in their sights.
"To be honest, my main target is the [Second Division] league [title]. If I can win the league I'll be very excited. Yes, we want to do well in the Nedbank Cup, but the league is the priority," said the coach.
Maluti have had a great season in the league. They remain unbeaten in 11 games - seven wins and four draws - in the Free State Safa Second Division.
Ramoreboli is wary some of his players being poached by more established sides and says he would be happy to see any of his players advance to bigger clubs.
He also remains confident in the depth in his side, saying that even without some of the players that did duty for the side "they would play even better and still beat Pirates".