Sundowns co-coach wary of 'strong' Pirates team

Quarterfinal against Bucs is final before the final, says Mokwena

Rulani Mokwena, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Rulani Mokwena, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena has described their Nedbank Cup quarterfinal encounter against rivals Orlando Pirates as a final before the final. The defending champions host the Soweto giants at Loftus Versfeld tomorrow at 6pm.

“With all due respect to the remaining teams and all the teams that participated in the competition, I think that this match is a final before the final. Two good sides will take on each other. Pirates are strong opponents with good players.

"They have speed and good mobility in attack and tactical abilities and have done well in the last five games in all competitions," said Mokwena at a virtual presser yesterday.

The Brazilians extended their unbeaten run in the DStv Premiership to 20 matches following a 2-1 victory over Chippa United on Monday. 

If they win against Pirates, they will play four matches in 11 days as games are coming in thick and fast. Nevertheless, Mokwena said they have enough quality to allow them to complete their programme.

“There is a huge demand for games and we have just played three games in seven days. Our schedule is hectic, but we've got enough quality to be able to see off the jam-packed schedule," said Mokwena.

However, Mokwena refused to entertain talks of them being the favourites going into the cup tie.

“I won't respond to that question. It is for the journalists and fans to make up their minds. Who has the advantage going into the game? Which team is well-rested? We have played four matches in April and have played three games in the last seven days. We are not spending enough time with our families and are always on the road. We are in a situation where we have travelled the entire country in a few days," explained Mokwena.

The Brazilians will pin their hopes of booking a spot in the cup final on the on-form striker Peter Shalulile, who has scored 14 goals in all competitions.

Mokwena said the Namibian international is a hard worker and a true professional, who takes his job seriously.

“You run out of superlatives to describe Peter. He is not just a player that gives his all on the pitch. He is always prepared to leave a piece of his skin on the field of play," added Mokwena.

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