It all comes down to preparation, says coach

As per the old business adage, when preparation meets opportunity, everything falls into place.

Westridge FC certainly meant business when they booked their spot in the Coke Cup quarter-finals with an emphatic 6-0 victory against Salt River Blackpool, in a Coke Cup last round of 16 match, at the Rooikrans sports complex, in Grassy Park, on Sunday.

Westridge FC in celebratory mood following their 6-0 win against Salt River Blackpool, in a Coke Cup last round of 16 fixture, at the Rooikrans sports complex, in Grassy Park, at the weekend. Picture: Fuad Esack

Having stumbled in last year’s quarters, Westridge have every reason to believe they can go beyond, possibly all the way.

Next up is a date with high-flying Rygate LFA side Hazendal FC, who beat Bafana United 4 2, to secure their spot in the Top 8.

Salt River Blackpool’s Tashreeq Fielies and Westridge’s Yazeed Davids challenge for the ball during their side’s Coke Cup last round of 16 clash. Picture: Fuad Esack

“Everything comes down to preparation,” said head coach Ismail Du Toit, who has been at the club since his days as a junior and has been playing and coaching at Westridge FC for about 20 years.

“The boys work hard during the week, for two to three weeks we have been working very hard on finishing,” said Du Toit, who, along with assistant coach and a former Westridge striker, Clinton “Kat” Jacobs, has moulded the side into legitimate title contenders.

“We have recently brought coach Cliffi on board. He is very technical and a great coach to have in our corner,” Du Toit said.

Westridge FC’s Naeem Nanga, shows his dominance in the air, to sneak one past the Salt River Blackpool defence during their Coke Cup encounter. Picture: Fuad Esack

Despite Sunday’s scoreline, Du Toit says they never underestimated their opponents and expected a tough encounter. Salt River pushed right till the end of the game, he said, but Westridge remained composed to ensure goalkeeper Toufeeq Soules kept a clean sheet.

Westridge FC’s Westridge FC Naeem Nanga slips past his marker during his side’s 6-0 win against Salt River Blackpool, in a Coke Cup match, at Rooikrans, on Sunday. Picture: Fuad Esack

“Soules has been outstanding on the day. Also, it was nice to see that we had different clubs from Mitchell’s Plain supporting us; I think that made the boys even more hungrier not to disappoint the supporters,” he said.

Although happy with the result, Du Toit remains cautiously optimistic.

“Coke Cup, all teams prepare very well, no team gets to the last 16 by luck, it’s hard work that gets you there,” he said.

Westridge’s Gavin Saayman rises above to direct his header towards goal during his side’s match against Salt River Blackpool. Picture: Fuad Esack

He said the first 10 to 15 minutes was played at a blistering pace with both teams attacking one another.

“We were up 2-0 within 10 minutes. Our strikers were clinical, normally we create a lot of chances but waste a lot. Sunday, everything just fell into place,” he said.

Leading 4-0 at the break might have settled some nerves on the Westridge bench but the job was far from done.

Gavin Saayman, Jarred Steenveld, Devon Wood and Yazeed Davids each found the back of the net in the first half.

Two more goals in the second half by Naeem Nanga and Nazan Klaasens, sealed the deal for Westridge.

“Myself and Kat always tell the players any game can be won or lost in the midfield so you need to shut your opponent out, don’t allow them to play,” Du Toit said.