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Sundowns coach Mokwena predicts the likely Chiefs lineup ahead of delectable showdown

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has stepped up the mind games.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has stepped up the mind games.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena stepped up the mind games ahead of his side's showdown against Kaizer Chiefs after he predicted the likely line-up that will be sent out by their rivals in the highly anticipated league match at Loftus on Sunday.

This delectable encounter is undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend and while the log standings may suggest that a mismatch is on the cards - Sundowns are top of the standings and appear to be cruising to the league title‚ while the limping Chiefs are 11th and just 10 points away from bottom club Black Leopards - a lot is at stake and matches between the two sides are never without drama‚ suspense‚ passion‚ intrigue and excitement.

Mokwena is mindful of this and has only served to add more spice to an already sizzling showdown.

“They (Chiefs) make quite lot of changes‚ but the interesting thing about them is that they still have big players like Khama Billiat‚ Samir Nurković‚ Lebogang Manyama and Bernard Parker‚” he said.

“More or less‚ their front three is made up of Khama‚ Manyama and Nurkovic and that is possibly what they could put on the pitch.

"You know they also have a Parker in that space who could play in the midfield‚ or even as a wing back.”

This is familiar territory for Mokwena as he also stoked the fires and predicted the starting lineup ahead of his side's Nedbank Cup meeting against rivals Orlando Pirates recently.

Sundowns handed Pirates a 4-1 thrashing in that encounter and advanced to the semifinals of the event‚ only to be stunned 6-5 by Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) in a shock result after a penalty shoot-out.

The Sundowns coach warned about the threat posed by former Bafana Bafana attacker Parker‚ who has been the subject of intense criticism from supporters who often question his selection in the team and argue that he should be left on the bench by coach Gavin Hunt.

“In certain moments they have used him (Parker) as their trump card as he can play as the last line up front‚ he can play in the midfield and he can play as a wingback both on the left or on the right‚" Mokwena said.

“But in their the last game against Cape Town City‚ where they had Kearyn Baccus coming in as a substitute‚ Njabulo Bloem played as a six and that is possibly what you could find [on Sunday].

“In that midfield shape‚ you still have Nkosingiphile Ngcobo as a number ten or as a number eight‚ and they have a strong defence with Siyabonga Ngezana‚ Eric Mathoho‚ Daniel Cardoso and Reeve Frosler as a fullback on the left side.

“You have to be careful because a lot of deliveries into the box are with his right foot. It should be very interesting whoever they put on the pitch.

"They still have Ajay Agay‚ who is a possibility for centre half and in the midfied‚ Cardoso can also play in the midfield like they have done in some of their matches this season.”