Nedbank Cup: Neil Tovey talks tough as Amazulu prepare to break 19-year cup final drought

2010-05-14 00:00

IF Neil Tovey’s tough talk yesterday at Pinetown’s Edgewood campus ahead of AmaZulu’s Nedbank Cup semi-final clash against Mamelodi Sundowns is anything to go by, then the expensively assembled team from Pretoria should brace themselves for war tomorrow night in Durban’s King’s Park.

Speaking after wrapping up a morning session under intense heat, the AmaZulu coach expressed confidence in his team, who are bidding to reach a cup final for the first time in 19 years.

This despite having to take the field tomorrow night without three key defenders — Pere Ariwerayi, Marc van Heerden and Warren Bishop, who are all suspended.

Not even goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela (thigh strain) and striker Dumisani Ngwenya (knee) were excused from training after getting knocks.

“Come 10.15 pm on Saturday night, Sundowns will know they have been in one of hell of a game,” Tovey threathened.

“I am excited myself because the players know the importance of this game and don’t need extra motivation as we are coming up against Sundowns. We will not even give them the time of day.

“We will put in an energetic performance. We know they have a talented bunch of players, but so do we. Now is our time!” said the former Bafana Bafana skipper, who is chasing his first cup trophy as a coach.

Seven seasons ago while joint oach at Sundowns with Miguel Gamondi, Tovey fell just short, losing 1-0 to Santos in the Bob Save Superbowl, which has since become the Nedbank Cup.

In the absence of his suspended trio, Tovey is sure to throw Siphiwe Mkhonza, Sboniso “Jomo” Gumede, Abdulla Ishaka and Belux Kasongo into the fray.

As a sign of building team spirit, Usuthu players helped themselves to a braai organised by winger Tswe­u “Chippa” Mokoro, scorer of the winning goal against University of Pretoria in the weekend’s 2-1 quarter-final victory in Pietermaritzburg.

For his efforts, the pacey dreadlocked player earned himself the man-of-the-match award accompanied by a R5 000 cheque, which he spent on his feast for his team-mates.

Mokoro, just like his coach, would not read too much into Sundowns’ 3-1 win over Orlando Pirates at King’s Park on Sunday, arguing Downs had a numerical advantage after the sending off of Josephy Kamwendo early in the second half.

“If we take the game to them just like Pirates did [in the first half], Sundowns will be in all sorts of trouble,” Mokoro said. “I thought that red card brought them to the game.

“Right now everybody is fired up for the game. And we have an idea of how to approach them.

“And this [man of the match] award could not have come at a better time for me. It has motivated me to do well and with the support of my team-mates, I am confident we will make it,” said the former SuperSport United, Moroka Swallows and Ajax Cape Town player.

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