The date of the Nedbank Cup final will not be changed even if Mamelodi Sundowns reach the deciding game in Cape Town and have to rush back from West Africa for the final‚ Premier Soccer League (PSL) officials have told SowetanLIVE.
The Nedbank final is set for the Cape Town Stadium on May 19 but Sundowns have a Champions League match in Guinea just days before.
If they reach the final‚ they would be forced to rush back and effectively have little preparation time.
Sundowns will travel the long distance to Conakry to take on Horoya on either Tuesday‚ May 15 or Wednesday May 16. The exact date is yet to be fixed by the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
Either way they would face a full day’s travel back to South Africa and little recovery time before arriving in Cape Town on the eve of the final.
The PSL are aware of the potential clash but are adamant that the date for the Nedbank Cup final cannot be changed because of the logistics already put in place and Fifa’s edit that domestic seasons around the world must end by May 20 to give players headed to the World Cup in Tunisia some time to test.
This year is only the second time in the league’s history they have announced the cup final venue before the quarterfinal stage. The last was 2010 when the rebuilt Soccer City was inaugurated ahead of the World Cup with a sellout crowd for the final between AmaZulu and Wits University.
Sundowns must still get past Maritzburg United in the semifinal on April 21 if they are to make the Nedbank final‚ where they would meet either Free State Stars or Kaizer Chiefs.
Sundowns’ next four outings over the next fortnight are all league games as they seek to keep up their slender lead at the helm of the Absa Premiership. They next play Chippa United at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday night.
After the cup semifinal at Harry Gwala Stadium on April 21‚ Downs are back in Maritzburg four days later in the league and then home to Ajax Cape Town in their penultimate league game on April 28.
Sundowns will begin the group phase of their Champions League campaign against holders Wydad Casablanca at home on Saturday‚ May 5 and play their last league game of the season a week later at Bloemfontein Celtic‚ before heading to Guinea.