JOHANNESBURG – Having been hot on each other’s heels in the last five seasons of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns reserves will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they square-off this Sunday.
In the reserve league, since its inception six years ago, there’s only few teams in the 16-team league that go toe-to-toe with each other like Chiefs and Sundowns have done in the past.
Downs, after four successive defeats in the opening matches during the 2017/18 season, got back to winning ways by waking up against Chiefs in a sold-out affair in Ekurhuleni.
In that encounter, Amakhosi went into the break sitting on a 2-1 lead, but second half substitute Keletso Makgalwa produced a mesmeric performance that overturned the deficit, ensuring the Brazilians were 3-2 victors.
But coach Arthur Zwane’s troops got their vengeance through a 3-1 victory in the inaugural final of the MultiChoice Diski Shield early last year.
Last season, it was the Brazilians’ turn to carry the winning baton, bagging all three points with a 2-1 victory in December.
In their opening games this season, both sides collected full points, before Chiefs were defeated 3-2 at home by Highlands Park, while Sundowns shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Polokwane City in the second round of the matches.
And that’s why a win in Sunday’s match at Makhulong Stadium (kick-off 12pm) will get one side’s title aspirations back on track.
For Zwane though, the newly expanded season gives him plenty of time to hit two birds with one stone, by aiming for their first league title and continuing to develop players.
Previously, the Soweto-born tactician was about the development of players, as he carried out his duties to the tee with Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Bruce Bvuma, Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and Siyabonga Ngezana graduating to become integral parts of the first team.
The latter, moreover, has been called-up to the Under-23 national team squad that will face neighbours Zimbabwe in the first leg of the 2019 CAF eight-nations qualifiers early next month.
On the other hand, Sundowns coach David Notoane will likely sit in the dugout for the last time on Sunday before taking a mini-break to focus on the Under-23s, as they chase a top-three finish to book their spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
He'll want to hand over the reins to assistant Surprise Moriri after a famous win over Chiefs.@Mihlalibaleka