Mamelodi Sundowns Co-Head Coach Rulani Mokwena says Thursday’s Nedbank Cup quarter-final against Orlando Pirates, really does feel like ‘the final before the final.’
Mokwena heaped praise on his former team, and says their profile has improved a great deal with their performances in the CAF Confederation Cup.
He says they have shown a lot of flexibility in their last few games, and he is expecting a good match on Thursday.
The winner of the match will host Tshakhuma in the semi-finals on Sunday.
“With all due respect to all the remaining sides, and to all the teams that participated in the competition, I think rightfully so and correctly, as you’ve mentioned, the final before the final and, two very, very good sides,” Mokwena said in the pre-match presser.
“Orlando Pirates are a strong opponent, extremely strong opponents, with very, very good players. And players that offer good weapons, as I always put, when you profile opponents, you do some form of individual profiling, and of course, you see that the characteristics of the side is a team that has very good speed, very good mobility, particularly in the attack.”
“And a lot of tactical flexibility in the mobility of how they operate. And the last five games clearly show that it’s a team that can play a certain way, particularly in the Confed Cup, where they’ve been very dominant on the ball, both at home and away, and of course, that has seen a huge improvement in their possession statistics, for an example now they average about 54% ball possession per 90, whereas before, only with domestic competitions, it’s a little bit less, but the profile of the team is still the same.”
“It’s a team that’s extremely dynamic. A team that not necessarily has a lot of possibilities to build from the back but has a lot of complications on the left hand side. But ja, good, strong opponent once again, as I say, a strong opponent that’s got very, very good players and has very strong and tactical communication in the sense that there’s a lot of players that have been together for two three seasons, and the cohesion within the setup is very, very good.”