Kaizer Chiefs were the only team that managed to beat Mamelodi Sundowns in the DSTV Premiership last season, denying them a record to finish unbeaten in the league.
The last time they clashed in the MTN 8 quarter final was in 2012 where Sundowns triumphed 4-1. It was Stuart Baxter’s first match as Chiefs’ head coach before he left them in 2015 but has returned to take reigns in the same position. Can he make amends of the 2012’s game repeat?
Masandawana have not won the top 8 competition since it was sponsored by MTN in 2008, they have lost twice in the final against Chiefs and Bidvest Wits in 2008 and 2016 respectively. Meanwhile, Chiefs have won it twice in the same period.
The Glamour Boys haven’t been doing well since 2016 failing to lift any competitive silverware since Baxter left them. That could change this season as they introduced some quality signings and they are expected to compete.
They seemed to be very confident in the Carling Black Label Cup match against Orlando Pirates last week. They had more ball possession, created many goal-scoring opportunities but failed to score in 90 minutes, winning the game on penalties.
Baxter will have a tough time choosing midfield players as he probably has more than what he needs. But if I was him, I would go with Cole Alexander as an encore because he’s effective both in defense and attack. In front of him, field both young Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Sabelo Radebe who’re energetic and in form.
On the flipside, the Brazilians have depth in their squad and have bolstered their team ahead of the new season. Their midfield has been strong for quite some time, with Rivaldo Coetzee as a player that recovers the ball and links the defence and the midfield very well.
Their attacking midfielders, Siphelele Mkhulise and Lebohang Maboe possess the ball more, play calmly, and can create chances anytime. Perhaps, the most dangerous midfield in the league.
Players to look out for
Chiefs’ newly signed Kgaogelo Sekgota could be the man to trouble Sundowns’ left-back cutting in on the right side. He gave the Buccaneers a problem in the Black Label Cup and looks comfortable in the gold and black jersey.
Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino’s partnership is still going to be problematic for opponents. They both play free roles and are unpredictable, one of them collects the ball from the midfield and they can easily dismantle the defense.
Last 5 meetings:
Sundowns won two, while Chiefs won three of the last five encounters.
Chiefs will be without Leonardo Castro and Dumisani Zuma who are injured while Devine Lunga of Downs is doubtful.
Both teams are desperate to win as Sundowns want to end a drought of the competition while Chiefs haven’t lifted a cup in the previous six years.
I foresee Downs winning this one as they have been dominating local football and considering the quality they have compared to Chiefs.
The match will be played on Sunday at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium with Kick-Off at 15:00.
Sinethemba Sithole’s prediction:
Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 Kaizer Chiefs