Sundowns chase treble as they clash with Celtic in Nedbank Cup final

Pitso Mosimane
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Mamelodi Sundowns has the treble and Bloemfontein Celtic in their sights. The two teams clash in the final of the Nedbank Cup at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says no one except some in his own camp and the supporters believed in his ability. The former Bafana Bafana mentor has already bagged the Telkom Knock-out and the ABSA Premiership titles.

Love him or hate him, Mosimane is a coach with a very high level of tactical acumen. He has been in the game for too long and understands the intricacies of winning titles.

He says many people doubted in his abilities, but so far he has proven them wrong.

“When the tough was going on, a lot of people did not believe me; the team did not believe me. Only the yellow nation, those who come here everytime. Those are the people who support us, but first, I must thank my family because they were behind me during difficult times and we had a lot of pressure outside and internally in the club, to be honest.”

On paper, Sundowns are favourites to win the Nedbank Cup on Saturday. They were crowned champions in the tournaments’ inaugural year, in 2008, when they beat First Division side Mpumalanga Black Aces.

The second and last time Sundowns lifted the title was in 2015 when they beat Ajax Cape Town in a penalty shootout. The coach says you need to have character to play for Sundowns.

“The boys, if you need to play for Sundowns, you have to have the character and you have to play every week. That’s why some of the players struggle to keep up with the team because there’s a lot of work and I’m too demanding. I push the players and some crumble and some runaway, some cannot take me because I’m too much for them but if you win the title … we are here to win Cups.”

Celtic will appear in a Nedbank Cup final for the first time and they caused a number of upsets along the way, but head-to-head statistics between the two teams in the last 10 matches in all competitions favour Downs.

Downs beat Celtic six times, while there were four draws. Sundowns have scored 13 times in the last 10 matches they played each other and Celtic only four.