TTM co-coach Maleka ‘We are in it to win it’

TTM co-coach Mpho Maleka knows the task at hand as his side prepares to meet the mighty Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup semifinals at Loftus Stadium on Sunday. 

The teams met under two weeks ago with Sundowns running out 3-1 winners in the DStv Premiership, but Maleka insists his side can spring a surprise.

What do you expect from Sundowns on Sunday?

We just played them two weeks ago in a league match. Their build-up is very slow and they use more of the wing-play. They are more on the ball and use it wisely. They are well-organised, you have to deny them time and space on the ball, and press them higher up the pitch. 

Big games call for big players and you must be delighted with the improved fitness of Tokelo Rantie …

With Tokelo, we can only praise the role played by the fitness trainer. He [Rantie] wanted to do more and for us to give him a run to start [the 2-0 win over TS Galaxy on April 10]. He gave his best and we appreciate his effort. We are happy he continues to improve and he will make sure he puts more effort in the next match. For him to be part of the winning team. If he does not score, he is the kind of player that can create one or two goals. We want to give him the courage to do more come the next match. 

And an update on George Lebese?

We expect George to be more involved in competitive matches in a week or two. But so far, he is working with the fitness trainer to gain his match fitness. But mentally he is ready and we can see where he can add value on the attacking part of the game-plan. But it is OK, we have no other injury worries, we are spoilt for choice.

Do you see the hunger in your players to go on and win the Nedbank Cup?

You can’t go to a Nedbank Cup semifinal if you are not hungry to win it. For us to be in the semifinal, it is now our plan to play and win the final. We want to represent the province [Limpopo], and we are ready to go all the way to the final and win it. We appreciate the job done by the players. We are using this good platform of doing well in the Cup to do well in the league.

So the Nedbank Cup is not a distraction from your league ambitions?

It is not a distraction, we are focusing on both. This is a new dawn since the new management took over. We have been doing things better than before. If chances allow us to go all the way [in the Nedbank Cup], we can’t deny ourselves that. We must appreciate the moment and go all out and do our best.

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