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Football | MTN8

David Mathebula with Zeca Marques © Backpagepix

Birds 'hungry' for MTN8 success



Moroka Swallows midfielder David Mathebula is not overly concerned about injuries to key players ahead of the MTN8 final where they will face the might of SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

Leading striker from last season, Siyabonga Nomvethe and Joseph Makhanya are doubtful for Saturday’s final, but Mathebula is convinced that the team will apply themselves well despite the duo’s niggling injuries.

"We don't look at the players' identity documents or how many national caps they have. The best players training this week will be playing on Saturday, so the injury to Nomvethe does not deter us," said Mathebula in an interview published on the official PSL website.

"I know what a huge influence he (Nomvethe) has on the whole squad and he will be missed. We have other strikers though who are just as capable and at the end of the day we must be prepared to go to war without him if he is not fully fit.

"We are hungry for this match. We've played and beaten the big teams before, and they are motivated with the hype around training today (Tuesday), and will want to make this a match to be remembered."

The Birds have been lethal in front of goals in this year’s MTN8 campaign and will hope to carry that momentum into Saturday’s final.

Zeca Marques men will need to find a way of neutralising the class of United veteran striker Sibusiso Zuma, while they will bear in mind their superior display a month ago when they defeated Pirates 3-0 in the semi-final of the last 8 tournament.

The offensive-minded Dube Birds will welcome back “DVD”, as Mathebula is affectionately known, from a lengthy layoff with injury to feature alongside the in-form Lerato Chabangu and the speedy Bennett Chenene.

Though, for calmness and experience, they will rely on the influence of experienced campaigners in former Bafana Bafana international, Lefa Tsutsulupa in midfield, and Ashraf Hendricks at the back who will make a welcome return after missing Friday night’s defeat to AmaTuks.

Outside of Zuma, Matsatsantsa have a star-studded squad of depth, experience and quality, however Mathebula is not fazed by their prowess.

"There is always more pressure on the bigger teams and we are fine with that. We are obviously going into this as the underdogs. But we have to go out there, have a good time and enjoy the moment, while ensuring that we focus for the 90 minutes of the match. The truth is, I don't think there are nerves in our team and we are ready for the big time” said the former Dynamos man.

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