MAMELODI Sundowns must fall!
That was the call yesterday from confident Bidvest Wits players ahead of their highly anticipated MTN8 final at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, on Saturday (5pm).
Downs are hot favourites to win the trophy after their heroics in reaching the Caf Champions League final, where they meet Egyptian giants Zamalek over two legs, on 14 (at home) and 21 October (away).
However, there is no talk among the unbeaten Clever Boys of the Tshwane giants being favourites, especially as far three former Downs stars are concerned. Eleazar Rodgers, Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele now play under head coach Gavin Hunt.
Malajila joined the Clever Boys in a swop deal with Ngele when Sibusiso Vilakazi joined the Brazilians in the off-season.
Said Malajila: “I have spoken to the coach (Hunt). We talk a lot. We know what we can exploit at Sundowns and that will be to our advantage.”
He stressed he had nothing to prove against Downs: “This is like any other game. Every game for me is a cup final.”
The Zimbabwean striker scored his first goal for the club in a 2-0 league win over Baroka FC recently and said the goal had boosted his confidence.
“The goal was a big plus,” he admitted. “I’m ready for whatever comes my way. I know I can do the job. We are well prepared and ready for Sundowns.”
Rogers is hoping it will be third time lucky for him in a major final.
He has lost two Telkom Knockout finals – one with Sundowns and the other with Platinum Stars.
Said Rogers: “I don’t think we are underdogs but Sundowns are a big team with a lot of quality. Then again, so are Wits and our target is to win this final.”
Rogers bears no grudges from his time at Downs in 2012: “I have no point to prove against them. What happened was no fault of Sundowns, in fact Sundowns helped my career.”
The tall striker said it would come down to BMT (big match temperament) on Saturday: “It’s a big occasion for us to showcase our talents. Who knows, maybe Sundowns being in two cup finals might cause them to take their eye off the ball. But I know coach Pitso (Mosimane), he won’t allow that. It will be a cracking final.”
Rogers, who joined Wits in the off-season, praised Hunt: “Gavin wants quality, and sets the bar and standard high at all times.”
Ngele said he hoped to get a place in the starting line-up and would not disappoint Hunt: “I’m just waiting for the opportunity to play.”
He said he was working hard after training, doing extra work to get ready for the final.