who holds the aces?

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Much has been said and written about the Nedbank Cup final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Mpumalanga Black Aces tomorrow, and their encounter should be a classic affair.

Many punters do not rule out the possibility of an upset after AmaZayoni pulled off an effective all-round display on their way to the final of Ke Yona.

The keenly awaited clash, which kicks off at 3pm, is billed for Johannesburg Stadium.

Though most people are convinced that the multiple champions, Sundowns, will stroll over their opponents, the match is likely to be an evenly contested affair.

Kenny Ndlazi's side might be carrying the National First Division tag going into this match, but they have proved that they are not overawed by the big stage.

They boast a horde of former Premiership campaigners like goalkeeper Michel Babale, who can cope with any pressure Sundowns exerts on them.

Aces' success should also be attributed to young players in their ensemble. Lucas Tlhomelang, Felix Musasa, Jacob "Dukes" Machaka, Edelbert Dinah, Mandla Zwane and Emmanuel Emenike are some of the players who form the spine of the team.

But it should be noted that The Brazilians are perfectly equipped in all departments for these kind of games and Aces could be warned not to get carried away by their fairytale run in the tournament. They will need to keep it very tight at the back and play a cautious game.

What is exciting about Aces, though, is that their youngsters do not fear opponents from the top flight. They proved this when they shone against Thanda Royal Zulu and Free State Stars, whom they used as a springboard to the final.

Trott Moloto's side, who ran aground when they were whipped 4-0 by Ea Lla Koto last Sunday, should be concerned about young right winger Vusiwe "TKzee" Masondo who has the pace and is dangerous when he cuts in.

Lindokuhle Mbatha is equally effective on the left flank and his crosses could provide plenty of ammunition to Kabamba "He-Man" Musasa.

Ndlazi will deploy Dinah to contain Esrom Nyandoro who poses a serious threat to AmaZayoni in the centre of the park.

Surprise Moriri, Peter Ndlovu and Lerato Chabangu must be causing Ndlazi sleepless nights, but they are likely to find Aces tough to break down at the back. Aces' defence, led by Thlomelang, did not concede a goal in this tournament.

Moloto will be without the injured Benson Mhlongo and Mbulelo Mabizela while Luvhengo Mungomeni is suspended.

Mhlongo was injured at training yesterday. The midfielder has also been pulled out of the Bafana Bafana squad which plays Nigeria on June 1.