AmaTuks not trying to emulate class of 2009

Tlisane Motaung, the head coach of Tuks, and Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena. | BackpagePix

Tlisane Motaung, the head coach of Tuks, and Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 20, 2024



TLISANE Motaung would love for it to be 2009 all over again. But the coach of Motsepe Foundation Championship team University of Pretoria is realistic enough to know he has a Herculean task in front of him if he is to emulate Steve Barker and take AmaTuks to the final of the Nedbank Cup.

He has already done extremely well to have them reach the quarter-finals, in addition to keeping them in serious contention for promotion to the elite league. And so, having been pitted against neighbours and domestic powerhouse Mamelodi Sundowns, Motaung is rather delighted at the opportunity his young players have to market themselves.

Tlisane Motaung, the head coach of Tuks, and Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena. | BackpagePix

“The most important thing is to allow the players to be on the same stage with this great team and players of Sundowns to learn and compete, so I won’t put pressure on them (to emulate the class of 2009). I want them to enjoy the moment and make a mark for themselves,” Motaung told the media after the draw was made on Monday.

He has vivid memories of what AmaTuks’ brilliant run, which saw them reach the final in 2009 where they lost to the self- same Moroka Swallows they knocked out at the weekend, did for the careers of some players.

“Before the 2009 Nedbank Cup when we played Swallows, nobody knew who is Andile Jali, and Andile Jali found himself on a platform like this and he took it with two hands and the used it to his advantage.”

No doubt Motaung will make his players aware that en route to reaching that final, their predecessors in the class of 2009 came across Kaizer Chiefs and prevailed, to show them Sundowns can be beaten.

The Brazilians’ coach, Rulani Mokwena, is a fan of Motaung.

“I am fond of coach Tlisane. I’ve seen him come through the ranks as youth coach via the varsity league and being an assistant for the pro side. He has done an incredible job to fight and to develop and become a promising coach in the country,” he said.

Mokwena believes Tuks were worthy winners over Swallows in the previous round and expects a tough encounter. Having twice played against lower division teams in the form of La Masia and Maritzburg United, Mokwena admits nothing can be taken for granted.

“We saw against Maritzburg how difficult and aggressive these games (against lower division sides) can go and I don’t expect anything different. We play lots of the National First Division teams in our friendly matches to get used to their aggression, physicality and intensity.

“It was tough against La Masia even though the scoreline was flattering and you saw how difficult the first half was against Maritzburg, and I don’t expect anything less.”

Gavin Hunt of SuperSport United (right) will face Stellenbosch, coached by Steve Barker (left) in the next round of the Nedbank Cup. | BackpagePix

Tshwane has three teams in the quarter-finals, with SuperSport United the other. Matsatsantsa a Pitori coach Gavin Hunt is expecting a tough match against Stellenbosch FC who won biggest in the last round, hammering ‘Kaizer Chiefs slayers’ Milford FC 6-1.

“We have been doing very well but we had a tough draw. We played (Cape Town) City, a top-three side, and then went away to Richards Bay who are fighting for their lives, and now it’s Stellenbosh away. It won’t be easy.

“We had an easy draw last year and we stuffed that up. Maybe a hard draw is good for us. Tough draw for both sides – highly competitive – and it won’t be easy.”

Hunt feels that to “qualify for CAF again, that would be a great achievement”. And SuperSport have two avenues – the Nedbank Cup and a runners-up berth in the league – to earn a ticket back into Africa.

The PSL is yet to announce the dates and venues for the quarter-final matches.