Mamelodi Sundowns are determined to get the Kaizer Chiefs cup final monkey off their backs. And they have never been in a better position to do so than when they meet the Naturena side in the Telkom Knock Out final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on the Day of Reconciliation – December 16.
Chiefs go into this game with 100% record against the Mamelodi giants in Cup Finals, and will hope that history will repeat itself.
But the intensity that Sundowns have shown in their preparations tells a different story. It looks like it will be more of a Day of Reckoning. They will remember their clash against Chiefs at the same venue in 2009 when they outclassed Chiefs to win 2 – 1 in a league encounter, with goals from Mphela and Xulu. But if truth be told, the score in that game could have been more – much, much more. Chiefs were awarded a controversial penalty.
Sundowns and Chiefs have played in eight cup finals since 2008, but significantly, five of these games were lost on penalties.
More recently, in their last five encounters, Sundowns won 1 – 0 from a Modise goal, drew 0 – 0, lost 1 – 0 from an own goal, drew 1 – 1 with Modise once more getting the vital goal, and early this year, lost 1 – 0 from a goal scored after Siyanda Zwane was controversially given a red card in the 89th minute, and Parker scoring a minute later.
Historically, in head-to-head statistics, Kaizer Chiefs have won 24 times against Sundowns, with Sundowns winning 17. The two teams have drawn 16 times.
But it is the statistic in the run-up to the final that will be more significant. Sundowns have scored 11 times, with two goals against, as they marched to the final, while Chiefs had to go to penalties after a goalless draw against Pirates, scoring only five goals in open play against Black Aces and Platinum Stars.
In their practice games, goals have come from Leonardo Castro, Laffor, Katlego Mashigo, Modise, (against TVET College), Mashego, Ngele, (against Platinum), Castro,Kekana and Laffor (against Celtic).
This bodes well for coach Mosimane, and with Malajila also getting a run following an injury absence, and Keagan “Double” Dolly playing well for the U23 side, Sundowns will be more than ready for Chiefs.
The form of Laffor, in particular, will also be good news for Mosimane, and, with the possibility of Mphahlele being out injured, further good news is that Soumahoro Bangaly has shown that he is settling in, and has combined well in defence each time he was fielded in the practice games.
The coach might consider keeping the central defence stable with Thabo Nthete and Wayne Arendse having proved solid so far this season, making Sundowns one of the meanest defensive teams in the league.
Rama Mphahlele is on record as saying they will be wary of young George Lebese, but it would be folly to lose Camaldine Abraw, who has also scored crucial goals for Chiefs. Then there is the caution that is necessary on set-pieces where Mulomowandau Mathoho has been reaping great rewards from balls swung into the box.
Mosimane has shown his abiliity to analyse opponents play, and the Sundowns brains trust would have noted all of this and planned accordingly.