Citizens taking United seriously
The Citizens have it all to lose up in Mpumalanga as they are a Premier League team while United campaign a division lower in the GladAfrica Championship. They are currently second-last in the standings.
But the knockout competition based on the English FA cup format has produced its fair share of shock results, such as last year when Championship side TS Galaxy downed mighty Kaizer Chiefs in the final.
Midfielder Nodada says a lot of smaller teams will have been spurred on by Galaxy’s success and will feel they have a chance of upsetting the big boys competing in the Premiership.
“When you play against these teams in the first round, you play against someone who wants your spot,” he said. “It’s going to be a difficult game with the heat. I’ve obviously had the chance to play there before when I was with Mpumalanga Black Aces, and, if it counts for anything, the last time I played there I got Man of the Match against Maritzburg United in the NC , so I’m pretty chuffed to go back.
“It’s a chance for us - after what’s gone on in our season - to aim for it to end on a high,” he added. “We are very wary of where we sit on the log (10th) and do not want to try and do something that will in turn give us problems. Going forward, we as players are going to give it everything and I look forward to Sunday.”
City coach Jan Olde Riekerink has told his players that when their careers are over one of the biggest things they can take away is the prizes you win. The Citizens just happen to be cup specialists. Since being formed in 2016 they’ve won the Telkom Cup Knockout in that year and the MTN8 in 2018 after reaching the final of that tournament in 2017.
“We start from scratch in this competition with 32 teams. When you divide that by two then it’s 16, and then it’s quickly to the final. I mean there’s still four games to go but then you are in the final,” said Olde Riekerink. “But for me the biggest issue is that the players can leave something behind career-wise. You play to win. You play to win prizes, cups, finals, championships or whatever.”
Mike de Bruyn