Potent strikers headline Bucs, Downs Nedbank clash
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE Nedbank Cup, which has gained popularity for its giant-killing encounters, will this weekend assume a Goliath-versus-Goliath dimension when table toppers Mamelodi Sundowns and a resurgent Orlando Pirates clash in a last eight encounter.
The country’s most lucrative competition is the only realistic chance for Pirates to claim silverware and redeem a largely disappointing season.
For defending champions Sundowns, the Nedbank-sponsored tournament is an opportunity to complete a rare domestic treble, with the Telkom Knockout already in the cabinet at Chloorkop and the league title seemingly headed to the Brazilians’ base.
The stage is thus set for a thriller when two of the country’s attack-minded outfits square up at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in Atteredgeville for a place in the last four.
Kickoff is 20h15.
Pirates are eager to lay their hands on the cup they last won in 2014, coincidentally the last piece of major silverware they have secured in their illustrious history.
The Buccaneers have peaked form as the league draws to an end and would be aiming for the scalp of third Premiership side having knocked sworn rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Jomo Cosmos in the earlier rounds.
Sundowns’ progress could have been easier on paper but suffered scares against first division opposition opponents, Highlands Park
In Tendai Ndoro, Pirates possess arguably the most feared marksman in the league today.
The gangling Zimbabwean marksman has an eye for a spectacular goal and goals-to-game ratio despite spending most of the season on the sidelines leaves fellow strikers green with envy.
Sundowns have thrice the threat.
The mere mention of the names Khama Billiat, Keagan Dolly and Leonardo Castro, is enough to send chills down the spines of many defences.
Pirates captain, Happy Jele, assures the team is read for the challenge.
“It’s an interesting one, we know Sundowns have been doing well, but we are looking forward to the game,” the defender known as “Magents” says.
He adds, “It’s a challenge for the team. It’s nice to play the big games; you can see how you are doing.”
Fellow defender and rival skipper, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, is upbeat.
“We’ll need a long warm up for this one! These are the games we want to play, the big teams,” says “Rama.”
“It’s a game that everybody wants to play. Everyone will be psyched up for this one. You know what happens when Sundowns meet Pirates, there are goals, there’s excitement.”
The Nedbank has somehow unique history, as the Downs captain points out.
“There is no team that has defended it. So, we are going to try the impossible.”
– CAJ News
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