Having seen the Premier League title slip from their grasp and head to Soweto, Tshwane giants Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United will travel to the country’s biggest township in search of redemption this weekend.
After they missed out on the Absa Premiership, which went to Orlando Pirates for the second year in a row, the two Pretoria sides will both be out to win silverware in the final of the Nedbank Cup at Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The eagerly awaited encounter will again pit United coach Gavin Hunt against Downs counterpart Johan Neeskens in what is expected to be a fierce battle with both gunning for the last trophy available. With the wounds of losing the league still fresh, Hunt and Neeskens are hoping to get some consolation.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t win the league so now we have to focus on the game on Saturday. It’s always important to win silverware,” said Neeskens.
“We are going to give 100 percent to win the cup. I guess the opponents will come with the same idea. We are going to give our best to get a good result and we will see what happens. We are facing a good team.
“Hopefully it’s going to be a nice match with good football,” said Neeskens.
Hunt, whose side were victorious in the last Tshwane derby, is also confident that his men will give a good account of themselves in a quest to win a tournament worth R6 million.
“You can never question us about hunger levels. I think we give our best every game. If you haven’t had quality like we have had before, you have to play with big hearts. I think we got that. We are happy to reach the final. I hope we can go a step further. It won’t be easy against a team like Sundowns,” said the three-time PSL championship winning coach.
“I need my big players to come to the party. I have some big players who have experience and have been with me for some time. They know what we stand for. We are going to need every ounce of experience and determination.”
Neeskens and his men had their hopes of winning the league dashed by their bitter rivals two weeks ago. The Dutchman and his teams will be looking for revenge and possibly going home with medals that glitter on Saturday.
The former Barcelona star knows that it won’t be an easy one.
“It’s going to be a big challenge because SuperSport had a good second round. There was a period in the first five or six games after the break in which they didn’t score, but all of a sudden it went away and they scored in all the remaining games.
“We are a good team. We will try to play our game and hopefully we will be the better team and win this cup,” said the former Netherlands youth coach.
Hunt admitted that his men had been lucky to grab maximum points against the five-time PSL champions. The Capetonian is expecting the men bankrolled by Patrice Motsepe to come at his charges hard in what will be a grudge match.
“We have to make the right decision on the pitch. Sundowns have all the quality, haven’t they? All we have is big hearts and organisation. That’s all we have and we are going to have to make do with that. We were lucky to get away with victory. We were a bit slack and we will try to work on that.
“They should be disappointed because of all the money they invested in their team. I am sure they want to get something back in the cup final. We are very happy to end up above a team like that in the league,” said Hunt. – Pretoria News