On Saturday night, the MTN 8 Cup final pits favourites Orlando Pirates against underdogs Platinum Stars
Jele, Lekgwathi, Sangweni, Matlaba
Klate, Manyisa, Jali, Segolela
Mpeta, Mhlongo, Mere, Gumede
Tshabalala, Ng'ambi, Nyanda, Sarr
Orlando Pirates will start the MTN 8 final as favourites on Saturday, as they take on surprise package Platinum Stars at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The Buccaneers sealed their passage into the final with a 2-1 aggregate win over fierce rivals Kaizer Chiefs, while Platinum Stars crushed Bidvest Wits 6-3 on aggregate to advance to the showdown in Durban.
Dikwena face their first MTN 8 final and the club's first cup final since they won the Telkom Knockout in 2006. After finishing second in the PSL last season, the club continues to punch above their weight.
Playing a high-intensity, attacking brand of football, Platinum Stars have found stars upfront in the form of Siphelele Mthembu and Mogakolodi Ngele, while Robert Ng'ambi is another force to be reckoned with in the middle of the park.
Dikwena will need to defy the underdog tag in order to defeat a powerful Orlando Pirates outfit, but certainly have enough ammunition to punish the Buccaneers if they falter on the night.
Speaking to the media at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Dikwena assistant coach Willem Jackson is confident that his side will push Pirates to the brink on Saturday.
“We are not here to make up the numbers and we are going to give Pirates a run for their money,” he said.
“We are the underdogs, that’s for sure, but they will have to fight us to take the trophy and the R8 million cheque. Pirates must be beware of us.”
Pirates may welcome back Andile Jali, after the club confirmed that the player is available for the final in a sensational turnaround of fortunes for the influential midfielder.
Lennox Bacela is set to start upfront for Pirates, as the striker continues to show good form and is scoring vital goals for the club he joined at the beginning of the season.
The Buccaneers will target their 10th Top 8 trophy, last winning the lucrative prize in 2011. The club has turned full circle after a disappointing campaign last season, with a Telkom Knockout round of 16 tie against Mpumalanga Black Aces and a Caf Champions League semi-final against Esperance next up for Roger de Sa's charges.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- This will be the 39th MTN final since its inception in 1972.
- Pirates were the first winners of the competition in 1972.
- If Platinum Stars pull off an upset, they will become the 13th club to win the competition.
- In the last 19 matches between the two sides Pirates have defeated Dikwena 13 times, while Platinum Stars have only recorded a solitary win over the Soweto giants.
- Siphelele Mthembu is Platinum Stars top scorer with three goals in the MTN 8, while Lennox Bacela has also scored three times for Pirates.