Mamelodi Sundowns shift their focus to cup competition as they travel to Durban this weekend for what has been dubbed a mouthwatering clash against Orlando Pirates at the MTN8 final. The Brazilians have been enjoying a run of victories in the cup competition and will be looking to take the silverware back to Chloorkop.
Coming from continental action last weekend and winning against their Burundian counterparts, Masandawana, according to Head Coach, Rulani Mokwena are ready for this final run and they have been preparing.
“We have been preparing very well. We have tried to focus a little bit on what personality is needed from us on Saturday and the players have been responding well and working hard. We are looking forward to a very good game of football on Saturday,” he said.
The Johannesburg-born tactician confirmed a number of key players that could miss the Wafa Wafa final due to injuries. He however stated that the final injury list will be confirmed shortly before kick off time.
“With regards to injury update, there’s a lot of work being done by the medical team which is very good, from the sports science perspective. We have only got a serious injury with Sipho Mbule, who is still out. Thapelo Morena, Thapelo Maseko and Bathusi Aubaas are also out, they won’t make it. Lucas Ribeiro will do a late fitness test, so that’s more or less what we have, and the rest are okay,” Coach Rulani said.
“There is a possibility of one or two players making it out of the injury list. We have to wait until the final minute to rule anyone out. It’s an important game, we need everybody. The medical team will do the best they can,” he continued.
The last time the two sides met in an MTN8 setup was at last season’s semi finals, where the first leg ended in a goalless draw and the second leg saw the reigning champions cruising to the final with a 3-0 victory. Coach Rulani said playing the final against the title holders will not be easy as the Soweto Giants will look to keep the silverware.
“We have to get silverware but this time around we have to get it from the defending champions so we know that we come into the game playing against the champions and it puts a lot of demand on us. This is what cup competitions are about. The players have done exceptionally well to put the team in the final and now we just have to work for one more game. We have to make sure we start cup competitions on a good note,” he said.
He continued and said: “Orlando Pirates are a difficult opponent with very good players on the pitch and an opponent that’s playing its third cup final as a group, so we know and understand the magnitude of the assignment and we have to focus.”
Coach Rulani concluded by thanking the Mamelodi Sundowns supporters. He said: I just wanted to say to the Yellow Nation, we thank them for the love and support. We are in this for them. We are mere servants and part of that is to make them happy, so we’ll try to continue to do that. They’re our rhythm – they keep us going, they encourage us and they make us feel loved – which is an important feeling. We are glad that we can count on them in good and bad times.”
Mamelodi Sundowns will take on Orlando Pirates at the MTN8 final on Saturday evening at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Kick-off is at 18H00 live on SuperSport