No doubt about who are favourites for TKO final – Tinkler

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Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler says there is no question in his mind who the favourites are for the 2019 Telkom Knockout final against Mamelodi Sundowns in Durban on Saturday.

The former Bafana Bafana midfielder believes the Brazilians are well ahead of them in terms of pedigree and will be carrying all the weight of expectations on their shoulders when they kick-off the game in front of a sell-out crowd at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Opposition coach Pitso Mosimane has surprisingly stated that Maritzburg are the favourites after they stunned Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-finals.

Maritzburg warmed up for Saturday’s game by beating Polokwane City 1-0 over the weekend to climb up to eighth on the Absa Premiership table.

It was their first win in the league for over a month – their last victory being a 1-0 triumph over Cape Town City back in October. Tinkler believes their result in Limpopo has allowed them some respite heading into the final.

While Maritzburg have been trying to find their feet again in the league, Sundowns have been soldiering on in Africa.

They were away at continental giants Wydad Casablanca as recently as Saturday where they drew 0-0 and then returned home to continue their tight schedule with a 3-1 win over Stellenbosch FC on Wednesday.

However, Tinkler does not think that fatigue will play a role come game-time on Saturday, although the United boss does not expect key Sundowns man Themba Zwane to have too much of a say on the game.

As mentioned by Tinkler, he expects Gaston Sirino to be the dangerman in the Sundowns’ XI. The Uruguayan has not featured since his red card against Lamontville Golden Arrows in the same competition last month.

However, Sirino does have a temper and Tinkler feels they could expose it once again if they are smart on Saturday. Report by Thahir Asmal