Maema feels Downs have upper hand over Bucs

Utility player happy to be returning to form

29 May 2024 - 12:38
By Neville Khoza
Sundowns midfielder Neo Maema is confident they’ll beat Pirates to win the Nedbank Cup.
Image: Dirk Kotze Sundowns midfielder Neo Maema is confident they’ll beat Pirates to win the Nedbank Cup.

After admitting that he didn’t have a good season at Mamelodi Sundowns, midfielder Neo Maema feels they have had a successful campaign and winning the Nedbank Cup title against Orlando Pirates at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday will be a cherry on top.

Sundowns have already won the DStv Premiership and the African Football League (AFL) and are looking to add the Nedbank Cup to their cabinet.

“When you come to a big club, you get into a space of competitiveness,” Maema told the media during the Nedbank Cup press conference on Tuesday.

“But it is a situation that makes you strong not as a footballer but as a man. I took it as it came and I know that there were a lot of speculations of what was the reason between me and the coach [Rulani Mokwena].

“Nothing was going on. It was just me trying to make sure that I competed and I was off form. It was not a secret and I have been trying to get myself slowly back to my old performance.

“Credit needs to go to the players that have been performing. I have been supporting them and I have been a very good teammate and that’s what happens at the big club.”

Facing the Buccaneers, who beat them in the MTN8 final already this season, Maema feels they have an upper hand going into this final, having won the league title where they were consistent.

“The treble is still there and we want it. It has been a successful season. Last campaign, we did very well, but we only won the league,” he said.

“This season, we have also won the AFL, so in our eyes, it’s a successful season and also, we can put the cherry on top with the Nedbank Cup. 

“I would not say there are favorites or underdogs, but I want to say that because we won the league and it takes a marathon runner to win the league and to be consistent in the performances.”