The Buccaneers can put an end to their winless run of Cup finals, by grabbing the initiative and taking their chances against the Clever Boys on Saturday afternoon
Jele, Lekgwathi, Mahamutsa, Matlaba
Myeni, Manyisa, Ntshumayelo, Klate
Josephs Gumede, Mngonyama, Booth, Bhasera Langwe, Shongwe, Ntshangase, Nhlapo, Vilakazi, Ngcobo
will look to end their Cup drought when they take on Bidvest Wits
in the 2014 Nedbank Cup final at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Orlando Pirates hope to make it fourth time lucky, after finishing as runners-up in the last three Cup finals that Bucs have taken part in.
The Buccaneers' Cup final hoodoo started with a 3-1 defeat to Platinum Stars on penalty shootouts in the 2013 MTN8 final, followed by a 3-1 defeat on aggregate to Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the 2013 Caf Champions League final.
Head coach Roger de Sa, who was the Bucs mentor back then, was feeling the pressure, and a few months after losing 2-1 in the Telkom Knock Out Cup final to Platinum Stars again, the Mozambique-born tactician resigned as Pirates head coach.
Bucs are heading into the final with no suspensions, and will be boosted by the return of vice-captain Happy Jele and winger Tlou Segolela from their respective injuries. However, Bucs' top goalscorer this season, Lennox Bacela will miss the Cup final due to a foot injury.
"We don't want the game to go to penalties. We want to see an open game with goals, but in normal time. We all know what Senzo is capable of from the penalty spot. We saw him in Caf, and only last week again he saved them," says Bucs assistant coach Eric Tinkler at a press conference this week.
"Its been a blessing for us because since the Arrows game we gave the guys two days off. Something which hadn't been done before. Its important for a team like Pirates to win trophies. We started out wanting to win every tournament this season," he said.
"We can't overlook the Confederations Cup. It's an important tournament for our continental aspirations. We have to look at this game in it's context; we have to look at it as a Cup final and not look at all the other finals we played," he added.
"We don't have a shortage of strikers. Lennox is out, but you have Kermit who has been doing well, Majoro, Pelembe. We'll be fine," he concluded.
Bidvest Wits have had a good season, finishing third on the Absa Premiership standings, in the process equaling their best ever finish on the PSL log. Now Wits could wrap up this season with a cherry on the top by winning the Nedbank Cup.
This will be Wits' first Cup final this season, as the Clever Boys were knocked out of the MTN8 Cup semi-finals by eventual champions Platinum Stars, followed by an early Cup exit at the hands of Lamontville Golden Arrows in the Telkom Knockout Cup.
The Students will be without their instrumental midfielder Papy Faty who is out injured for the rest of the year. Coach Gavin Hunt's side has no suspensions heading into this mouthwatering encounter.
"There are two fantastic men between the sticks so it'll be even more of a lottery, but I agree, it must end in normal time. The fixtures are frustrating because one week you have two games. The next thing is you wait two weeks for a game, but we make it work," Wits assistant coach Paul Johnstone told the media.
"If you're on a winning run you want to play the back-to-back games, when you're losing you enjoy the break so you can work again. It's a cup final, so everyone wants to play. Our boys go into this game with no pressure. We've had a respectable season," he added.
Bidvest Wits captain Sibusiso Vilakazi is the player to watch for Clever Boys. The 24-year-old forward has led by example throughout the season, scoring and creating important goals for the Braamfontein outfit. Vilakazi has already scored three goals in the 2014 Nedbank so far.
Orlando Pirates attacking midfielder Mpho Makola picked up his form recently. The 28-year-old player has been instrumental in Bucs' last three matches, scoring two goals as well as making three assists. Makola found the back of the net against Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup semi-final two weeks ago.
- Pirates and Wits met in the 2011 Telkom Knockout Cup final, where Bucs defeated the Students 3-1 at Moses Mabhida Stadium
- The Clever Boys won the 2010 Nedbank Cup final, beating AmaZulu 3-0 at FNB Stadium.
- The Buccaneers emerged victorious in the 2011 Nedbank Cup final, defeating Black Leopards 3-1 at Mbombela Stadium.
- When the two teams met in the league this season, Bucs won 2-1 in the first round at Orlando Stadium, and the second round encounter ended in a goalless draw at Bidvest Stadium.
- Pirates have won the National Cup (Nedbank Cup) seven times, compared to Wits' two triumphs.
- The Buccaneers have finished as runners-up 14 times, while the Clever Boys have lost only three times in the final.
- Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates will represent South Africa in the 2015 Caf Confederation Cup.
- Wits head coach Gavin Hunt will be appearing in the Nedbank Cup final for the second time in two years, after leading SuperSport United to the 2013 Nedbank Cup final.