SOWETO – With this year’s eagerly anticipated MTN8 final set to be decided and new champions waiting to be crowned on Saturday evening, there are contrasting views on who will be crowned as champions.
Despite the fact that SuperSport United has vast experience when it comes to cup finals and their squad’s quality compared to Highlands Park, but football has always provided shocking results over the years.
Yes, the Lions of the North may be in their first cup final since the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era, but one cannot overlook their drive, hunger and fitness to have a go at any opponent.
— Highlands Park FC (@HighlandsP_FC) October 5, 2019
THE OWEN DA GAMA AND ALLAN FREESE COMBO:
The former Bafana Bafana manager has proven his coaching credentials with a so-called small team and has nothing to lose heading to the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Looking at ODG’s reign since taking over the coaching duties, he managed to lead the former National First Division side to a decent top-eight finish last season.
Among his achievements was to put together a team that is known to be invincible whenever a PSL opponent touches down in Tembisa.
On the other hand, a solid and tactically astute technical team comprising of Allan Freese has proven to be a masterstroke for the team.
Freese is a former Wafa Wafa winner himself after shocking Orlando Pirates in 2013 whilst in charge of Platinum Stars at Mbombela Stadium where he also clinched the Telkom Knockout Cup.
RENEILWE LETSHOLONYANE AND TENDAI NDORO EFFECT:
The two seasoned campaigners are part of the team dubbed the underdogs and their presence at Highlands will not only help in beefing up the squad but help the youngsters settle and face the final with calm nerves.
‘Yeye’ as Leytsholonyane is famously known to his admirers is one of the most decorated players in the South African football scene and brings a wealth of experience.
Having won every trophy on offer in the South African top-flight, the dreadlocked midfielder might not play in the final but his role will be to guide and lead the youngsters from the bench thus bringing a winning mentality in the squad.
On the other hand, the Zimbabwean (Ndoro) has played for the Soweto giants, Pirates, in many cup finals and will want to repay the faith shown in him by the club’s management come Saturday evening.
Affectionately known as ‘Fire’, Ndoro is yet to revive his goalscoring prowess but his experience and ability to lead the team upfront is second to none.
Guiding the likes of Mothobi Mvala, Mahlangu among others will be his responsibility as they look to shock the experienced, yet beatable Amatsantsantsa on Saturday.
A LOOK AT THEIR MTN8 JOURNEY:
SuperSport United may have defeated top sides such as Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns, but their counterparts have also defeated quality sides in the form of Orlando Pirates and Polokwane City.
Beating the Buccaneers after an announcement that coach Milutin Sredojevic has resigned gave the Lions of the North an opportunity to secure a 1-0 win at the final venue.
In their next fixture, they locked horns against Rise and Shine whom they dispatched via penalties following a goalless draw at Makhulong Stadium.
As they have not conceded a single goal so far in the competition, their defensive record could help steer them to their first major gold medal in the top flight, but they should do the work upfront to find the back of the net.
Moreover, the MTN8 journey began at Orlando Stadium and with Owen Da Gama having also coached the 1995 African champions a few seasons ago, the football Gods could guide Highlands Park to in the heart of Soweto.
S'kusele kancane🎵🎶🎼🎵🎶🎼 #MTN8 Final🔥🔥🔥
— Highlands Park FC (@HighlandsP_FC) October 4, 2019