Downs to bring A team to face Chippa
Sundowns plan to go all the way and win Nedbank Cup
Mamelodi Sundowns will play their A team against Chippa United when the two sides battle in a Nedbank Cup last 32 fixture on Saturday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, says team spokesperson Thulani Thuswa.
Last year the Pretoria side were booted out in the semi finals of the competition after losing 3-1 to Maritzburg United.
The Brazilians return to the PE stadium where they were crowned winners after beating Ajax Cape Town on penalties in 2015.
Since then the team has failed to get their hands on the Nedbank trophy after three attempts. However, Thuswa is confident that Sundowns will go all the way and win the cup this year.
“We always play to win it. It is an important cup. This cup qualifies you for Caf competition so why not,” he said.
It's more like a knockout game where if you lose you go home, and you don’t want to go homeMamelodi Sundowns spokesperson, Thulani Thuswa
“We are super focused for this match. It's more like a knockout game where if you lose you go home, and you don’t want to go home.
“We take the Nedbank Cup very seriously and we are playing against a quality team with a good coach in Chippa United. We know the atmosphere will be very good at the stadium."
The last face off between the two sides was in an Absa Premiership fixture in October last year, where Sundowns beat the Chilli Boys 1-0, at East London's Sisa Dukashe Stadium.
“The matches between these two teams are always heated, which is exciting for the supporters as well and football is always a winner.”
“We are excited to come back to Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. We enjoy playing there in a world class stadium. The pitch is always good.
“But this will also give us the opportunity to engage and interact with our supporters who are in that part of the world."
Thuswa said the team was happy with the return of Andile Jali who was out due to injury, but they had other minor injury concerns.
“Jali is back at training which is a good thing. The last time we played against Chippa he had a fantastic game and he was man of the match.
“Denis Onyango is back as well. He was back to his best on Tuesday (in a 2-1 win against Highlands Park). Regarding our minor injuries, there is a concern with Thokozani Sekotlong. Otherwise, the whole team is available.
“We will be bringing the A team to PE,” he said.
As in many cases, teams that are struggling in the league seem to do well in cup games.
This is in reference to Baroka FC who were languishing at the bottom of the log but, managed to win the Telkom Knockout Cup last year.
Thuswa hoped Chippa would not fall into this trap.
“I hope they (Chippa) don’t get distracted by the Nebank Cup, because it has happened a lot where a team gets distracted by a cup competition while they need to focus on the league.
“But we won't make it easy for them. We know that in most cases such teams who are fighting for their lives in the league are tough opposition.
“So we are not under any delusion that this will be a easy game for us. Not at all.”
Kick off is at 3pm.