Rangers looking to go all the way in Rothmans

Manning Rangers have not gone beyond the semifinal stages of the Rothmans Cup, but it is certainly a prospect they are relishing in this year's competition.

The Durban-based side were edged out by Orlando Pirates on a penalty shootout in the semifinals in 1997 and last year were beaten by Seven Stars in the quarterfinals.

"We would love to go all the way in both the Bobsave Superbowl and Rothmans Cup, but we are taking every game a step at a time," Rangers coach Gordon Igesund said on Thursday.

"But before we can look too far ahead, we want to clear the first hurdle this weekend. The players are motivated and showed how hungry they are when we beat AmaZulu 3-0 in a friendly yesterday (Wednesday).

"You cannot look at preparing for 90 minutes, but 180 minutes as Rothmans matches are played on a home-and-away basis. You have to use different tactics in your home match and depending on the result, a different strategy away."

The Mighty Maulers host Mother City at Chatsworth Stadium in the first round, first leg in Durban on Sunday and are determined to start their cup campaign off on the right note.

"Obviously, it will be a tough game for us, as all cup matches are. But playing at home we will have to get a few goals to carry with us to the return leg in Cape Town," Igesund said.

"City have been scoring goals and their 4-1 win over Bush Bucks shows they are a team you cannot underestimate. We expect them to play it tight and play for a draw, so we will have to get an early goal to break them down."

Striker Alton Meiring and midfielder Mike Allen are two key players in the City arsenal who will need special treatment. "They have been doing well, especially Meiring, so we will have to bottle them down," Igesund said.

Rangers may have to do without striker Keryn Jordan, who is nursing an injury and a decision on his inclusion will be taken over the next few days.

"He is the only player who is doubtful at this moment. We have a full strength team with our foreign players' work permits now all sorted out we have no problems in fielding our best team," Igesund said.

Igesund was cautiously optimistic about his team's chances against a side who have only mustered one win, a draw and lost three matches in five league outings to date.

"We are not doing too badly and winning three out of five matches this early in the season is heartening. But there is still a long way to go."