JOHANNESBURG - The euphoric atmosphere that has engulfed the Tshwane derby in recent years has made the contest one of the most sought-out sporting events of the year. That’s why IOL Sport's Mihlali Baleka looks at four interesting factors as Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United prepare to lock horns in a Nedbank Cup last-32 clash at the Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe Stadium tomorrow night ((8:15pm kickoff).

The master vs the Student

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane first crossed paths with Kaitano Tembo when the Zimbabwean was his assistant at SuperSport over 10 years ago. But the latter would soon hang up his boots as he cut his coaching teeth at the SuperSport’s development ranks.

Eight years ago, Mosimane joined the Brazilians following an unsuccessful stint with Bafana Bafana, while Tembo finally assumed the hot seat at SuperSport last season after assisting Mosimane’s successors on several occasions.

This season, though, that the master and student have traded intensive blows, SuperSport knocking the Brazilians out of the MTN8, while Mosimane and his team have bagged six points against their rivals in the two league meetings.

Idol of Tshwane

Hlompho Kekana is arguably the most loved footballer to have represented both Pretoria clubs, Sundowns and SuperSport, where his career hit stardom after signing from Black Leopards.

However, it is with the Brazilians where Kekana has shone, winning the Caf Champions League title in 2016 and Super Cup in 2017 amongst several other major trophies.

The 34-year-old’s consistent form has seen him nominated for the PSL Footballer of the Year award for the last five years.

African giants

There is no doubt that Sundowns have made a name for themselves in Africa after qualifying for the last five editions of the Champions League.

However, rewind back to December 2017, and SuperSport had South Africa’s backing when they reached the Caf Confederation Cup final, where they came up short to Democratic Republic of Congo side TP Mazembe.

And having been the only team to win the Nedbank Cup back to back, in 2016 and 2017, should Matsatsantsa triumph in this year’s edition, they would have ample reason to believe they can go all the way in the Confederation Cup.

Drama and goals galore

There is no derby without drama. So much so that Sundowns’ talisman Gaston Sirino is still awaiting his fate from the PSL disciplinary committee after slapping SuperSport’s duo Clayton Daniels and Dean Furman in the second leg of the MTN8 semi-finals, where Sundowns lost 2-0.

However, while scuffles are part and parcel of the game the Tshwane derby has lived up to its lofty billing this season as there has been three wins and one draw during the four meetings between the two teams.

@MihlaliBaleka 


The Mercury