Sundowns coach Mosimane wary of ‘sold’ Wits
Mentor says their opponents are giving priority to the Nedbank Cup because they have lots of incentives to want to win it
Mamelodi Sundowns’ Nedbank Cup semifinal date against Bidvest Wits looms large on the horizon and Brazilians coach Pitso Mosimane has wasted no time in starting the mind games.
The long-awaited showdown marks the Premier Soccer League’s (PSL’s) return to action after a four-and-a-half-month coronavirus-enforced hiatus and Mosimane has described his adversaries as “a wounded lion” ahead of their meeting at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.
Sundowns drew twice in the league with Wits coach Gavin Hunt’s side this season, but this statistic did not stop Mosimane from insisting the game will be a tricky minefield to negotiate as the 99-year-old Wits are seeking to make a grand exit at the end of the season.
Wits confirmed a few weeks ago that they have reached an agreement for the sale of their franchise to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.
“We have a big game against Wits of course and if you listen to their statements‚ they’re saying that they want to go out in style‚” Mosimane said.
“Obviously there are a lot of incentives for the [Wits] players and the coaches [to win the cup]‚ so that’s why they’ve prioritised the Nedbank Cup.
“They haven’t said anything about the league. They have only spoken about the cup‚ so that gives me an indication that the league is not the priority to them.
“They want to win it [the cup] and I know the character of the coach [Hunt] and the character of the team. So I know how difficult it will be and this is how I’m preparing my team.
“I hope the message sinks in the systems of my players to know what they have and what they don’t ... they must not say they’re playing a team that has been sold.”
Sundowns have already managed to snatch some of the best players in the Wits team that will relocate to Limpopo in the new season‚ but Mosimane still warned his team not to underestimate the Clever Boys.
“They’re a team with the same players and same technical staff. In fact‚ we’re facing a wounded lion and when you’re facing a wounded animal you know you will be in trouble if you are complacent and not being careful of how you step.
“First, we’re going to give them the respect that they deserve. Second, it’s a semifinal so it can go either way.
“We have played twice in the league and both results were draws‚ home and away‚ and they had to come from behind. (But) I think we could have won those games.
“We had a lot of opportunities missed and I remember in the away game we hit the post and Themba Zwane missed a chance with the goalkeeper coming out.
“It’s a big game and it’s an emotional game. Unfortunately this game is played [at a time] when we don’t have the physical condition to match the emotions‚ the situation or the pedigree of a semifinal,” Mosimane said.
Sundowns still have a chance to finish the campaign with a treble if they add the Nedbank Cup and Premiership to the Telkom Knockout title they won before the end of 2019.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.