Former Kaizer Chiefs star Patrick Mayo has urged players such as Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro to focus on the upcoming Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates and forget about what has transpired off-the-field.
Mayo was speaking to Goal as the Soweto giants prepare for the Derby, and he suggested that the Buccaneers' assistant coach Rulani Mokwena's recent dig at Chiefs was just a ploy to destabilise the Amakhosi camp.
“I don't think so (Rulani's statements will affect them), but the only thing to affect them is their injury list and the fact that they didn't play well against (Black) Leopards," Mayo told Goal.
“Chiefs have a role to play on Saturday in getting the three points because the Derby is a special game...it's difficult to predict the score and I believe we can't also look at previous matches, there will be surprises where players from Chiefs can rise to the occasion,” said the former Amakhosi player.
Moreover, the Mthatha Bucks legend believes coach Giovanni Solinas will do well in his first Soweto Derby in charge of the Naturena-based outfit.
“I think for now he is trying his utmost best to get combinations, we can't say he is or not ready to lead Chiefs in the Derby, but I think it will be different, there are new players this time around,” continued the former striker.
“I have already indicated that you can't predict a derby and this also happens in Spain. Look there will be the El Classic on Sunday, you imagine Barcelona against Madrid without that battle between (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo...my point is that even if Chiefs do not have Billiat or Castro based on injuries, the players will have to rise and play to give the club good results,” added Mayo.
“I think since it's a first one for Solinas, he will want to be cautious, he wouldn't love to lose his first one. He will expect his team to do well,” continued the legend.
“I think a draw would be good and I think what he will not want to go all out in his first match because people are looking forward on how he will lead Chiefs on Saturday,” said the 45-year-old.
Moreover, the former Bafana Bafana international explains that Mokwena's mind games are nothing new in football. This follows the Pirates assistant's utterances that that Chiefs' current technical team lack the tactical ability of
“I think it's just a mental game played by Rulani because he mostly talked about the players he knows from Sundowns and about Komphela,” he reacted.
“They just don't have to listen to or read what he says about them, they are experienced for such games...Castro and Billiat have played the Tshwane Derby, it's not the first time facing a game where there are mind games or emotions involved," responded Mayo.
“They are experienced in such games and Rulani is just trying to disrupt their focus, so they must be professional and show him that they can do better - they cannot afford to focus on what is said outside or in the media,” he concluded.