Marques content with underdog tag

Marques content with underdog tag

zeca4Santos coach Zeca Marques has no problem with being billed as the underdog for Saturday’s Nedbank Cup showdown with Free State Stars at Athlone.

This last 16 encounter kicks off at 20H15 and sees NFD outfit Santos out to try and upset an Ea Lla Koto side currently in the top eight bracket in the PSL.

Peoples’ Team head coach Marques feels that as underdogs, his team can go into the game without the weight and pressure of expectation hanging over them. He is also hoping that the prospect of playing against a club from the top tier will see his charges fired up come game day.

“These cup situations are about who wants it the most, about the underdog, and we fit that role perfectly,” said Marques.

“The nerves in my opinion will only start settling in, or starting, with about five hours to go, when the players come to the stadium, that’s when you’ll see if there is hunger in their eyes, if the team is up for the challenge, the individual’s body language, when he starts putting his boots on, during the warm up, that’s when you’ll start telling yourself, okay the guys are geared up.

“At the end of the day it’s about personal pride, it’s about integrity, it’s about being a good professional, showing your own ambition, taking this great opportunity to showcase oneself. This is a moment when we play a PSL team, this is the moment players are [potentially] playing for contracts in the PSL, do I really need to motivate anyone?”

Stars defender Sifiso Mbhele meanwhile admits that his team sees the Cape side as a big threat.

“It’s not going to be a walk in the park,” Mbhele told his club’s website.

“We are expecting a tough match against Santos. They have nothing to lose so that makes them dangerous. It also looks like they are out of the race for promotion so an extended run in the Nedbank Cup will keep their season alive.

“Let’s not forget also that they will field their strongest and most competitive team as the Under-23 rule does not apply to cup competitions. We worked hard during the international break, building up to this match, so we are ready for Santos,” he added.

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