Orlando Pirates attacking defender, Thabo Matlaba has asked his teammates to make the final push towards the finals of the Orange CAF Champions League as the Soweto giants prepare for a game of their lives against 2011 champions Esperance of Tunisia.
The first leg, semi-final encounter will take place on Saturday at Orlando Stadium, located in the heart of South Africa's biggest and sprawling township of Soweto.
"We have come so far and it will be a pity if we were to lose at this stage. We have travelled some very tricky paths and overcome some trying obstacles, so I don't see why we cannot put Esperance defence to sword on Saturday," said Matlaba. "We are hungry and fired up. I have never seen the boys in such tremendous focus. They are like troops eyeing to overrun their opponents."
The defender said he was aware of Esperance's impressive pedigree in the competition, having reached the finals of the last three editions and winning it in 2011.
"I know we are coming up against probably the most consistent club side on the continent but having beaten previous winners like TP Mazembe, Al Ahly and Zamalek, few will doubt our capabilities."
The inspirational defender said they had been receiving well wishes from all and sundry in the country and it was inconceivable to let the nation down.
"Sometimes when you undertake a journey, your ultimate aim is to cross the line. We can see that finishing line and what is left is for us to summon all our strength and give this a final push. We can do it," added Matlaba.
With such tough talk, there are signs that Saturday's Orlando battle might produce one of the greatest spectacles of the competition.
Esperance coach Maher Kanzari said his side were not coming to South Africa to frustrate Pirates and defend in numbers.
"That is not the nature of our game. It is against our fundamental philosophy. We are going to attack and try to come out of Orlando Stadium with a win," he warned Pirates this week.
However, his Bucs counterpart, Roger de Sa said he was really relishing the prospect of taking the best side on the continent.
With an injury-free side, De Sa said the encounter might produce the 'match of the year.'
"We are going to attack and they will probably rely on counter-attacks. It will be a battle of attrition. I hope and really hope, this will be a great advertisement of African football at its best," added De Sa.