JOHANNESBURG – With their defence now intact and striking-force sharp upfront, Mamelodi Sundowns’ reserve team could bag their third trophy in two seasons if they beat Kaizer Chiefs in the final of the MultiChoice Diski Shield at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm kickoff).
Sundowns’ previous triumphs were the Diski Challenge and inaugural International Challenge.
After losing their championship to Golden Arrows this season due to a barren run in the first four games of the seasons, they’ll be looking to make amends with the Diski Shield.
Their biggest downfall at the time was their leaky defence that allowed them to concede 11 goals, while only scoring once. However, coach David Notoane is adamant that they’ve tightened up their loose ends.
“We know where we are as a team, and the biggest challenge for us has been keeping clean-sheets,” Notoane said. “We’ve improved on the aspect of finding the balance between attack and defence.”
In fact, the Brazilians have also been flourishing upfront as well; this year they’ve scored 22 goals in all 10 matches in both competitions.
They started the season without strikers Keletso Makgalwa and Thabang Sibanyoni, but the duo is now back and fully fit.
“We have a clean bill of health,” he said. “Both teams have attacking potency that can open defences that are tight.”
Meanwhile, for Amakhosi’s coach Arthur Zwane, it’s about finding the balance between developing players and at the same time instilling a winning mentality. Zwane has approached the development of players holistically in the past two seasons in the Diski Challenge.
As a result, players such as Wiseman Meyiwa and Siyabonga Ngezana are now first-team regulars.
The winning train seems to be moving already at Naturena, as they have won all four matches so far, scoring 12 goals and conceding just three.
Head of technical development Sundra Govinder – who was at the helm in the semi-final – says that there’s more pressure on Sundowns since they’d want to follow in the path of the first team’s success.