Rhulani Mokwena on Orlando Pirates match-up: 'It's the final before the final'

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Mamelodi Sundowns (Gallo Images)
Mamelodi Sundowns (Gallo Images)

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena has claimed that their blockbuster clash against Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals is rightly labelled as 'the final before the final'.

The two sides will go head-to-head in a much-anticipated clash that will see arguably the two most talented squads in the country face off.

Sundowns are the runaway PSL leaders and look odds-on favourites to defend their crown, while the Buccaneers have already lifted the MTN8 trophy this season.

Mokwena agrees that Thursday's clash is a "final before the final".

"With all due respect to the remaining sides and those teams who have competed in this competition so far, it is probably right to see this match as the final before the final," Mokwena said.

"Both are two very, very good sides, as Orlando Pirates are an extremely strong opponent with very, very good players who offer good weapons.

"When you profile opponents, you always do some form of individual profiling, and of course you see the characteristics of the side is one who has very very good speed and mobility especially in attack.

"They also have very good tactical flexibility in how they operate. It's a team that can certainly play in a way where they are dominant on the ball.

"For example, they've improved drastically in their ball possession statistics where they now average 54% ball possession per 90 minutes.

"It's a team that is extremely dynamic and a very strong opponent who has very good players who have been together for a number of years which gives them a certain cohesion," Mokwena added.

Earlier, Buccaneers head coach Josef Zinnbauer labelled Sundowns as the clear favourites who possess an unrivalled squad overflowing with talent.

"At the moment, Sundowns have the best team in the league and are also one of the best sides in the Champions League.

"So it will be good for me as a coach to see the reaction of the players to facing a quality side such as Sundowns."

Kick-off is at 18:00.

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