Coach Rulani Gives Detailed Analysis Of This Weekend’s MTN8 Final

All eyes are on the MTN8 Cup final as Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City prepare for a thrilling encounter on Saturday evening at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

A fine string of performances from Masandawana is paying off as the defending league champions are possibly one game away from clinching the long awaited top 8 trophy. Downs Coach Rulani Mokwena described this weekend’s opponents as highly competitive and capable:

“We expect a very difficult match against a very good side, when you speak of preparations and analysis, you look at two facets: The one is from a personnel aspect of course, my opinion is that Cape Town City probably have close to the most complete sides in relation to personnel, they have specialists in every position and very good players.” 

The Brazilians haven’t been lucky in their Cup challenges, their last MTN8 tournament win was in 2007 when the competition was popularly known as the “SAA Supa8”. Coach Rulani is confident that the experience of his co-coaches and the players will carry them through the final.

“The good thing is that we have the experience that Coach Manqoba [Mnqithi] has with Cup finals, Coach Steve Kompela has been a head coach in cup finals and we have the experience of players in dealing with cup finals. We are blessed in that space that we have players that have played so many cup finals and games of consequence, they know what playing games of consequence means for the club and how important it is for us to be able to put this one to bed for the club. It is the one trophy that over the years we haven’t won and it’s a trophy that we are motivated by the desires of our goals and not being motivated by the pressure of having not won the trophy, it’s two different aspects -the one comes from more of a negative context and the one comes from more of the positive context.”

Bafana Ba Style are up against City who have not had much luck in winning their domestic league encounters, however, Coach Rulani went into details of analysis on  his opponents and the danger they pose ahead of the final.

“You’ve got Hugo Marques in goals, extensive experience has helped them with the buildup and he’s very good in relation to how they want to play, to build from the back and his distribution for transition. You’ve got the left back Terrence Mashego who is probably the most on-form left back and probably one of the best in the country at the moment, he has deservedly been called up to Bafana Bafana. There is Abbubaker Mobara and Taariq Fielies who are probably one of the best center halves in the country and [there is] Thamsanqa Mkhize who is one of the best right back in the country.”

“There is Thato Mokeke who I believe is probably one of the best deep line playmakers in the country, there are only three in  the country and of course Mokeke falls into that space. A lot of other teams play with defensive midfielders but Cape Town City play with a deep line play maker which then again speaks to the other part of who they are and what they are about because as a team that wants to have a player like Mokeke deeper in positions where he initiates the build ups and wants a little bit of comfort to be able to find spaces higher up the pitch by dragging people to come in, then you’ve got the right sort of player with Mokeke. [There is also] Thabo Nodada who’s got the highest number of chances created, the same with Mdantsane who’s probably their most important with (I think) nine goal scoring contributions in goals and assists. Fagrie Lakay is on form, two goals in the last four games, [he has] speed, directness and the ability to play in front of the defensive line and behind the defensive line.”

City have won two games of their seven games played in the DStv Premiership, with two games lost and three resulting in draws. Downs Coach Rulani reflected on his opponent’s style of play. He said, “ [Their] structure is a bit more complex because in the last four games they’ve had two different structures. A very interesting team, a team that is only second to Sundowns in relation to possession and a team that is only second to SuperSport United in terms of efficiency on their transitions, a team that has seven players that create big chances on average per match and a team that has eight players that create over fifty passes in relation to possession and looking for the ball, and willingness to play.”

“Already with regards to the data and the analysis that we’ve gone through, you can already see that it’s two teams with similar playing profiles, they initiate the way they want the game to be played by using the ball and want to be dominant. We expect when there’s a clash of styles, methodologies, game approaches then you look to win the game on other different factors that contribute in terms of performance.”

Masandawana coach concluded that his team is capable of handling the dynamics and changes of Cape Town City as the Brazilians are in excellent shape both in attack and defense.

“We’ve also got a lot of very good players that will be on the pitch and they will help us to dominate possession and look to influence the game our way and play it the way we want it to be played. We come into it with players that are on-form and playing very well. [Themba Zwane] Mshishi, Andile Jali and Rivaldo Coetzee are playing well, all our center halves have come in, Brian Onyango has done very well when called upon. We have the option of having Ricardo Nascimento who’s ready now for local matches and Mosa Lebusa has been stable, Denis Onyango is playing exceptionally well, Khuliso Mudau has been exceptional in the last three matches. [There’s] Lyle Lakay who’s been consistent, huge influence on set pieces and open play and creating opportunities, then of course Peter Shalulile, Kermit Erasmus, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Pavol Safranko are in good moments at this point in time in the season, we feel also that the final has come at a good time and we feel very confident going into what will be a very difficult game.”


3 Responses
  1. Gabriel Owolabi

    Best of luck #Sundowns; we need another impressive performance from the team, we can do it!!! 💪🏾👆🏾💛🔥

  2. Mfana

    I’m so cold blooded when it comes to this trophy because it’s so elusive in terms of winning it,I mean out of nine times we have come home with it only 3 times not to mention that since it became MTN8 we haven’t won it.Cape Town City is another team that gives us hard time & including their coach who likes to plan against us& always ensure that we don’t win against him. I so wish that God be on our side because I believe we need Divine intervention.Khuliso Mudau has been so impressive and I also wish Mvala&Lunga a speedy recovery.Kaboyelo go& make a difference and bring the cup home. I have a firm belief that if we win on Saturday we will have a clean sweep of trophies this season,as the league is slowly going & heading to the direction of Chloorkop

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