Mamelodi Sundowns will go head to head with Orlando Pirates in a Nedbank Cup quarter-final match at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Thursday.
Kick-off is at 6.00 pm.
Sundowns are oozing confidence after setting a new unbeaten record of 20 matches in the league with a 2-1 victory over Chippa United on Monday. The Tshwane giants, who are the reigning Nedbank Cup champions, reached the quarter-finals after thumping GladAfrica Championship side Polokwane City 4-0 in the round of 16 on March 10.
The winners between Sundowns and Pirates will then host Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) in a semi-final clash of the South African FA Cup on Sunday, while a sole league match this afternoon sees Baroka tackle Chiefs.
Rhulani Mokwena, the Sundowns co-coach, has lauded Pirates as a team with good speed and mobility, having worked for the Soweto giants between 2017 and 2019.
“Pirates are strong opponents with very good players and players that offer good weapons,” Mokwena said.
Themba Zwane: The Bafana Bafana international will be brimming confidence after scoring his first goal in South African football since January 2021 when he netted against Chippa. Zwane will now be keen to inspire his side to the semi-finals.
Peter Shalulile: The Namibia international has been very influential in this season’s Nedbank Cup having hit the back of the net three times in two matches. Shalulile will be looking to continue his scoring form in the South African FA Cup.
Kabelo Dlamini: The left-footed playmaker grabbed a morale-boosting goal against Al Ahli and he also netted against Maritzburg in the round of 16 match. Dlamini will be hoping to find the back of the net again when he faces Masandawana.
Tshegofatso Mabasa: The bulky centre forward marked his return to the Pirates starting line-up with a goal against Al Ahli and he has now netted twice in his last four competitive games. Mabasa could be key to a Pirates win over Sundowns.
“When you profile opponents you do some form of individual profiling and, of course, you see the characteristics of the side. They have very good speed and mobility, particularly in the attack. They can play a certain way — particularly in the Confederation Cup where they have been dominant on the ball both home and away — and I have seen a huge improvement in their possession statistics.”
Meanwhile, Pirates bounced back to winning ways when they secured a 3-0 win over Libyan club Al Ahli Benghazi in the Caf Confederation Cup match on Sunday.
The Buccaneers booked their place in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals after claiming a 3-1 victory over Maritzburg United in the Round of 16 match on February 27.
Josef Zinnbauer, the Pirates head coach, says Sundowns are the favourites, but he indicated that they have nothing to lose when they face their Gauteng rivals. “We’ve nothing to lose, as Sundowns are the favourites of this sport,” Zinnbauer said.
“In the meanwhile, Sundowns have one of the best staff within the league and are additionally among the finest sides within the Champions League.
“So will probably be good for me as a coach to see the response of the gamers to going through a top-quality facet reminiscent of Sundowns.”