Johannesburg - Marumo Gallants assistant coach Harris Choeu is aware that it will take a big mental and physical effort for his side to down Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday night.
“Sundowns players are role models to many within our team. We have to work on things and devise ways to beat players who are role-models. We have to do training sessions so that when we face Sundowns, the minds are level. We are regarded as a small and new team and when the season starts, any small team's objective is to avoid relegation. The next one is to challenge everyone. We have done that,” said Choeu.
While Gallants have earned a lot of praise this season with their brave performances in spite of working with limited resources, Choeu concedes that their end product is often less than efficient and something that they need to do better if they want to upset Sundowns.
“Our end result is often not as good as the football we play. We are working on that. We have played so called football in many games where we did not get the three points. That is our weak point and something that we are trying to work on,” said Choeu.
A key player for Gallants in the game will be goalkeeper King Ndlovu who can be a superb shot-stopper on his day.
The likely scenario is that Downs will boss possession. Ndlovu will have to be on his feet to potentially diffuse an onslaught on his goal by the likes of striker Peter Shalulile and co.
Impressively, Ndlovu has beaten off competition from last season’s Nedbank Cup player of the tournament Washington Arubi to the Gallants first-choice keeping role.
Ndlovu knows that his side are not favourites for the contest, but thinks that they can still pull off an upset.
“We are the underdogs and nobody is giving us a chance. The important thing for us to do is to trust in ourselves and believe that we can do it. We have got some quality players in our team to get us through the line. We also do have experience. We are confident that we can get through this,” said Ndlovu.
Ndlovu has also been key to Gallants reaching the final of the competition. He has been nominated for the player of the tournament award along with Andile Jali and Aubrey Modiba.
“It is wonderful to be nominated for the player of the tournament award. It is not easy for a goalkeeper to be nominated so it is a proud moment and I do fully deserve to be nominated,” he said.