tsutsulupa flying high

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

When it comes to PSL players who have come into their own this past year, Lefa Tsutsulupa's name has to be mentioned in the same breath as those of Teko Modise and Bernard Parker.

So imposing is the Moroka Swallows midfielder's profile these days that he is now the player most associated with the Dube Birds brand.

Tsutsulupa captains a side that is at a slight disadvantage against Sundowns, having been beaten three times, winning twice and then drawing three in the last eight clashes between the two.

But with a 75 percent away win record, the Birds are a force to be reckoned with on the road. Tsutsulupa said he will fear no one from Downs, which is just as well as Downs coach Henri Michel has been experimenting with his line-ups, thereby making the job of predicting the starting 11 n difficult.

But Tsutsulupa would most likely face captain Esrom Nyandoro in the heart of the field, with Kurt Lentjies, Lerato Chabangu and Derek Spencer lurking nearby.

"It's amazing how far we have come in just five short months. We have had great coaching staff, the players are playing for each other and our supporters have been very visible. That will have to see us through against Sundowns," said Tsutsulupa.

They make the trip without Alton Meiring and suspended defender Fabian MacCarthy.

With three clean sheets at home, plus a decent defensive record, Downs are likely to make life difficult for the likes of Cecil Oerson, David Radebe and Phumelele Bhengu.

Robyn Johannes has done an outstanding job anchoring the Brazilians' defence, and has notched up a few man of the match performances. When Trott Moloto gave him a chance last season, Johannes made the most of it.

"Swallows have been flying high and we cannot make assumptions about what they will do. They have a great coach and have been doing very well. We can't afford any slip-ups on Sunday," Johannes said.

Dario Monteiro is doubtful and Siboniso Gaxa was red-carded in Downs' last match.