Fireworks expected in Tshwane derby
The University of Pretoria will look to inflict further pain on Mamelodi Sundowns when they debut in the Telkom Knockout Cup last 16 on Tuesday evening at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, kick-off set for 7:30pm (CAT).
It has been a contrasting state of affairs between the two clubs on the Premiership front with AmaTuks sitting in a highly impressive fourth place, whilst Sundowns have only managed to tally a third of their results and sit in the relegation zone on four points.
Sundowns’ rut, which included fans attacking coach Johan Neeksens, has undoubtedly set a somber mood in the Chloorkop camp, but Tebogo Langerman isn’t giving up just yet.
“The first goal will be very important for us, as it will set the tone for how we play against the University Of Pretoria,” said Langerman.
“I believe that if we score first, that might be enough to unsettle AmaTuks and also give us the necessary confidence going forward
“Make no mistake about the threat posed by AmaTuks. We are very much aware that they are a tough side to beat, especially if you look at how they have started in their debut season in the PSL.
“We will not underestimate them at all but we really need this win, which means they should not read too much into their good start to the PSL season”
A positive note for Sundowns will see Buhle Mkhwanazi, Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Lionel Mtizwa all absent from the encounter due to a deal in their contract agreement when they moved to Tuks on-loan from Sundowns this year.
“The fact that they will be without the three players on loan from Sundowns does not make them any less of a danger,” adds Langerman.
“They have other young players, who are very hungry, and looking to shine whenever given the opportunity and that should make them a bit tricky for us, but I believe we have done our homework.”
Tuks’ dream start has stunned South African football’s fans and critics with some feeling that the real test will be to see if they can replicate the form shown on the domestic front in knockout competitions.
“We have done well so far, we are not planning on changing much,” explains Warren Bishop. “It is another game that we are planning on winning and continuing our good run of form.
“We have a hard working dedicated side that is willing to fight for the cause.
“We are not concerned about Sundowns and their issues. We respect them and believe they have a quality side, but on the day we will give our best efforts to get through the first round of the Telkom Knockout Cup.”
It will be the first time Steven Barker’s boys will take part in the tournament and Bishop already has one eye on the final.
“We know that we are new to the cup competitions and therefore have nothing to lose. Obviously we want to continue our good run and the cup is another step forward,” he added.
“We have reached cup finals (Nedbank Cup final 2009) in the past, so we have experience when it comes to cup competitions but we are aware that it won't be easy. The club would obviously enjoy another cup final appearance.”