Wouldn’t it be delightful and a confidence booster to lift the first cup of the new DStv Premiership season? Four teams left in the MTN 8 Cup to battle in the semifinals to be played over the two legs. With the first legs in action this weekend, here’s a closer look at two fixtures:
Golden Arrows vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Sundowns are undergoing a slow start in the new campaign, not demonstrating their typical carpet football. Masandawana are known for having the best quality squad in the league, however, with their technical team choosing an unbalanced starting lineup in recent games, they’re easy to immobilize. Mothobi Mvala has been poor as a defensive midfielder, losing balls easily and frequently failing to recover them. Last season Andile Jali would have been preferred over Mvala with his ability to join the attack and create more chances to score.
Downs also lack agility in attack as their right winger Aubrey Modiba often take too many touches. They need a quick attacker like Lesedi Kapinga who suits the way they go forward. Adding to the slow movement of the ball is the right-back Khuliso Mudau who isn’t decisive enough on the ball. Thapelo Morena would be vastly superior in this position as he understands the style of play better for Downs.
Arrows have a stable midfield but are not consistent. Sometimes they produce too good to be true results but drop the ball in the next game. They recently lost a ballplayer in Ntsako Makhubela who signed for Orlando Pirates. Replacing him should be Lindokuhle Mtshali, an offensive and energetic midfielder but the coach has instead picked the defensive Thabani Zuke and Velemseni Ndwandwe. The two can shield their defense but can’t create rhythm in the passing game and neither of them contribute to their attack.
Road to Semi-finals
-Sundowns beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
-Arrows edged SuperSport United 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
-Lebohang Maboe – Injured (Sundowns)
-Gift Motupa – Injured (Sundowns)
-Themba Zwane – Doubtful (Sundowns)
-Mosa Lebusa – COVID 19 related (Sundowns)
-Andile Fikizolo – Arrows (Injured)
When-Saturday, at 15:00
Venue-Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium
Hard to swallow for other teams, but Masandawana always stand a chance to win against any team in PSL considering the quality they have.
Predicted Score: Golden Arrows 0-1 Mamelodi Sundowns
Cape Town City vs Swallows FC
Swallows are gradually becoming a stumbling block to the so-called big teams, having knocked out Pirates to reach this stage. They usually play a 4-3-3 formation, with the front three overwhelming opponents’ defenders, leading to more goal-scoring chances. The ever-confident Ruzaigh Gamildien is still their main goal poacher this season after bagging a brace in the quarterfinals. The Birds’ Musa Nyatama has found a niche in the center, with high passing accuracy and rarely a bad game.
City’s Shaky defense has been a concern for a while as they concede unnecessary goals at times. However, they are slowly getting it right. The Citizens’ Mduduzi Mdantsane has been in fine form since last season. He lights the fire in attack, while the speed of Craig Martin and Bradley Ralani also gives them a hefty shove on the wings. Their attack will have a severe test against Swallows’ solid defense unit of Junaid Sait and Wandisile Letlabika.
Road to Semi-finals
-CT City defeated AmaZulu 2-1
-Swallows triumphed 2-1 over Pirates
-Darren Keet – Injured (CT City)
-Fagrie Lakay – Injured (CT City)
-Tlakusani Mthethwa – Injured (Swallows)
When – Sunday, at 15:00
Venue – Cape Town Stadium
Swallows’ consistency reflects the understanding they have of each other while City are still emerging from bad times. I’d give it to The Birds.
Predicted Score: CT City 0-1 Swallows