With Kaizer Chiefs being the only side that defeated Mamelodi Sundowns in the DStv Premiership last season, Downs are looking to retaliate.
It’s normal for all teams to not have a flawless start to the new season. Why? They have signed new players and are still introducing them into their style of play. That’s what both teams are going through now.
Despite not having a properly balanced team yet, at times Masandawana demonstrated their quality in their past two league games. They play a 3-4-3 formation, which sees their wing-backs being the main attacking weapons.
However, Masandawana have been missing the creativity of their maven playmaker, Themba Zwane who’s injured. That’s why they haven’t been moving swiftly when attacking. If they had that agility up front, it wouldn’t be difficult to harm Chiefs’ slow defence.
Bafana Bastyle goal poacher Peter Shalulile hasn’t reached his peak yet as he doesn’t get enough balls from the midfield. Their quick midfielder Lesedi Kapinga could be of help in creating more goalscoring chances … just sacrifice the slow Aubrey Modiba for him.
Chiefs don’t possess the ball too much in the midfield, Sundowns can exploit that. Be the ones that hold the ball, the more you possess it, the more chances of scoring goals.
The Brazilians’ Hashim Domingo has been progressing well, giving them some beef in the midfield. He’s quick and strong and pairs well with Gaston Sirino, who’s also a ballplayer for the team.
Chiefs’ newly signed Cole Alexander knows Domingo as a teammate at Bidvest Wits. They possess very similar qualities, however, Alexander can be more aggressive at times. Cole will be helpful when marking Sundowns’ midfield that plays calmly.
The new coach of AmaKhosi, Stuart Baxter believes in transitional play. They utilize wings more with the speed of Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly leading to crosses.
Bear in mind, Sundowns always leave spaces behind when attacking with wing-backs and Chiefs can capitalize on that with their speed.
Baxter’s frontman Samir Nurkovic seems to be off-track, doesn’t have the proper timing, and fails to get into appropriate spaces. If I was the Scottish coach, I’d field Billiat as false 9 and replace Nurkovic with Kgaugelo Sekgota in order to have more speed upfront.
Stuart Baxter vs Sundowns record (all competitions)
Won. : 4
Drew. : 2
Lost. : 7
Downs’ co-coaches record vs Chiefs (all competitions)
Since Manqoba Mnqithi and Rhulani Mokwena were appointed as Downs co-head coaches.
Won. : 2 (including 2021 MTN quarterfinal penalties triumph)
Lost. : 1
•Lebohang Maboe-Injured (Downs)
•Themba Zwane-Doubtful (Downs)
•Dumisani Zuma-Doubtful (Chiefs)
•Lebohang Manyama-Doubtful (Chiefs)
•Leonardo Castro-Injured (Chiefs)
When -Sunday, 12-09-2021
Where -Loftus Versfeld Stadium
Chiefs are still in construction, while Sundowns have been dominating for a while. That being said, I’d put my money on the reigning DStv Premiership champions to win.
Sinethemba Sithole’s prediction:
Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 Kaizer Chiefs