Downs will lift cup: Dumitru
VETERAN coach Ted Dumitru has tipped his former employers Mamelodi Sundowns to lift the Nedbank Cup trophy in Soweto on Saturday afternoon.
The Brazilians take on cross-town rivals SuperSport United in what promises to a thriller at Orlando Stadium, with kickoff at 3pm.
Dumitru, who is also part of the Safa technical team, yesterday picked United to win the match despite the fact that Matsatsantsa beat Downs 1-0 in their last league meeting.
"Sundowns will win it this time around," he said. "They were unlucky to lose to United last time. United are not good at keeping possession, their approach to the game is too direct and it will be difficult for them to stop Downs if they allow them too much possession. Statistics show that they are a physical team with a lot of tackles. They will have to be more constructive against a team with a cup pedigree like Downs."
Kaizer Chiefs legend Doctor Khumalo said it was difficult to predict the winner, but he also went with Downs.
"The fact that it's a cup match makes it even more difficult to predict. I am inclined to believe that it could go either way, as both teams seem equally matched if their recent clash against each other is anything to go by. But United's coach Gavin Hunt seems to have their number. Still I will take a chance and place my bets on Downs."
Farouk Khan and Roger de Sa would not be drawn into predicting the winner, saying it was anybody's trophy. Khan, who is part of the South African Football Association's technical department, said it would be a slap in the face for Sundowns to lose the game "because they have a top-class European coach in Johan Neeskens".
"Anything is possible from this clash," he said. "Downs have been successful in cup games and it could be a huge disappointment for them should they lose because of the quality they have in their team."
De Sa, the Wits coach, said both teams have not tasted success for a long time and hunger and thirst for success could turn this game into one of the memorable clashes between the two sides.
"Both teams, who have been used to success in the past, have gone through a dry spell for some time," he said. "United play counter(attacking) and direct route soccer. They found form late in the season, which almost put them into contention for the league title. (I predict) a very close game, which could go either way."