Mamelodi Sundowns have an eagerly-awaited clash in the Nedbank Cup as they take on Orlando Pirates in the last 8 of the competition. Masandawana are the defending champions as they won the trophy last season as part of the famous 19/20 the treble-winning season. This game comes after a great performance in the league against Chippa United.
Coach Rulani Mokwena discussed the prospect of facing the Soweto giant in the quarter-finals: “With all due respect to the remaining teams in the competitions, yes, it is a final before the final, two great sides. Orlando Pirates are strong opponents, an extremely strong opponent with great players. You can see that they are a side with good spirits, good mobility, in particular, their attack. They have tactical flexibility in their mobility of how they operate and their last five games have shown that they are a team that can play in a particular way especially in the CAF Confederation Cup.”
The last time the two sides met Masandawana walked away as victors with a solitary Brian Onyango goal being the difference on the day in the DStv Premiership.
“They are very dominant on the ball, home and away and that has seen a huge improvement in their ball possession stats. They are an extremely dynamic team, with fewer probabilities of starting play from the back, and have a lot of complications from the left-hand side. Like I said they are a strong opponent and have strong tactical communication in the sense that there are a lot of players who have been together for two to three seasons. The cohesion within the group is very good.”
Having already played four games in the month of April alone, Coach Rulani Mokwena touched upon the importance of having all of the players available and ready when they are being called to do duty for the club during this intense period.
“We need everybody in order to go through this program, the next eleven days we play about four games and we have come from a situation where in seven days we played three games. With that we have covered the whole country, we have been to the extreme north (against TTM) and now we just came back from East London (Chippa United). We have enough numbers and quality in those numbers to go through the program.” concluded Coach Rulani Mokwena