Why SuperSport will win the Nedbank Cup
The Baxter effect
Stuart Baxter’s tactical shrewdness cannot be questioned or over-emphasised. SuperSport's players have hailed Baxter’s influence on the team. Even top marksman Jeremy Brockie says Baxter is the reason why he is willing to stay at Matsatsantsa a Pitori.
Since his arrival Baxter has revived the hopes of SuperSport. He managed to get them to qualify for the top eight. Baxter is a master tactician. Before his arrival, SuperSport's defence was leaking like there’s no on Saturday but he seems to have fixed it.
Baxter’s charisma and impressive knowledge of the game makes players want to give him their all. In the back of the minds of the players will be the fact that Baxter will want to have a dream team next season, so they may be out of their jobs if they don't go all out on Saturday.
Solid midfield and lethal attackIn central midfield, Michael Morton and captain Dean Furman spare no energy when they go about their business. They work hard in marking, they press hard in attack and they hardly run out of steam. The duo will be vital for Matsatsantsa a Potori. In the centre midfield, Pirates players are not as compact as they used to be a few seasons ago. SuperSport will come out tops in that tussle. If SuperSport win the battle in midfield, they could be unstoppable.
SuperSport boast a potent attack. To their credit, SuperSport don’t have to rely on one player in striker Brockie. Though Brockie is their most trusted striker, they have other attackers who are capable of inflicting harm on any team.
Thuso Phala, Dove Wome, Kingston Nkhatha and Bradley Grobler could pose serious danger for Pirates. Pirates' defence has not been convincing and against these marauders they may find it hard to contain this in-form bunch as they charge forward in search of silverware.
Why Orlando Pirates will win the Nedbank Cup
The Nedbank Cup final is too personal for many of the Orlando Pirates players for the outcome to go any other way.
Although their SuperSport United counterparts will surely put up a fight, the Buccaneers will edge the Peter Mokaba Stadium finale on Saturday afternoon.
At the Pirates media day on Wednesday morning, three of the four Pirates players made available for interviews all had intimate stories to share about the match venue in Polokwane, the game itself and their love affair with the tournament.
It is these intriguing tales, as well as a collective effort from the team, that could hand Pirates an advantage to clinch the cup. Eric Tinkler’s men will also want to redeem themselves and rescue a season that began with so much promise, but quickly fell apart when they were beaten on aggregate by Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel in the CAF Confederation Cup final in November last year.
It was at the Peter Mokaba Stadium that Brighton Mhlongo, the Orlando Pirates goalkeeper, suffered a ligament injury that required surgery and kept him out of action from August 11 to January 13. Coincidentally, it was in the club’s 1-0 Premier League defeat to SuperSport United in their opening match of the season.
Mhlongo hasn’t been there since. His teammate Sifiso Myeni has good memories of playing in this tournament, on Saturday being his third final after he won it in 2010 with Bidvest Wits and four years later with Pirates.
While Myeni was making his way to the winners’ podium to collect his second medal, midfielder Mpho Makola was anticipating holding aloft a trophy for the very first time in his professional career having never come that close at Free State Stars.
All three will play a key role in trying to salvage some pride after finishing in seventh place in the Premier League standings. A lot is riding on this Nedbank Cup, and these narratives will definitely spice things up.
Original source: Who'll bring home the cup?