The MTN-8 first leg semi-finals will provide another opportunity for the four remaining teams to find some rhythm before the international break officially kicks in.
It’s been a fairly slow start to the season for all four teams in the opening rounds of the DSTV Premiership. Cape Town City is the only semi-finalist to record a win in their midweek match. They face off against Swallows on Sunday, while Mamelodi Sundowns take on Golden Arrows on Saturday.
The rest of the PSL teams have already gone into their two-week FIFA break – the first of the season. But it’s business as usual for the semi-finalists who will be looking for a win that will set them up well for the second leg. Sundowns who are yet to win the competition, come up against an Arrows team who have been direct in their approach thus far.
Although the Durban side lost their last outing to Supersport United, they have managed to find the back of the net on four occasions in all competitions. It’s perhaps the reason that coach Lehlohonolo Seema remains confident. He warned the Brazilians not to underestimate them as they hope to recover from the recent setback.
“When they have the ball they are the champions, we have to react according to the situation of the match because they will be in control of the match. I can assure you that we will go there and give a good account of ourselves and like the spirit that I have seen already,” Seema says.
Sundowns have dismissed claims that they are desperate to lift the title. But the Brazilians will need to change their approach for this match after a lackluster midweek performance against Chippa United.
“We are people of process, we are serious people that are really focused this season extremely motivated and ours is on the prize. We have a responsibility to make sure that we prepare as well as we can for every single match to give ourselves the best possibility to win every match,” says Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena.
But the Brazilians are also aware that they will not have it all their own way.
“Even when they try to have some form of organisational forms they still try to maintain a little bit of flair and the expressive abilities of their players and sometimes that’s where the difficulty comes in trying to pre-plan for instinctive football actions and that becomes very difficult,” adds Mokwena.
In the second semi-final on Sunday, Swallows coach Brendan Trutter will tread carefully in the Mother City against Cape Town City.
The Soweto side has only conceded once in all competitions this season and Trutter’s objective is to remain compact at the back, hoping to have an advantage in the second leg at home. He faces a City oozing confidence after the Capetonians registered their first league win against Royal AM.