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MTN8: Why SuperSport United will beat Mamelodi Sundowns – Makhanya

15:56 GMT+3 29/08/2019
Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United - August 2019 Hlompho Kekana and Teboho Mokoena
The retired midfielder has shared his thoughts on the upcoming Wafa Wafa semi-final clashes set for this weekend

Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Joseph Makhanya has backed Highlands Park and SuperSport United to secure wins in the first leg matches of the MTN8 semi-finals this weekend.

‘Duku Duku’ believes the Lions of the North are hungry after beating the Buccaneers whilst stating Rise and Shine are also confident after beating the reigning champions.

On the other hand, the 2019/20 Wafa Wafa ambassador explained Amatsantsantsa A Pitori’s four-match unbeaten run across all competitions will boost their morale ahead of the clash against Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday.

“It’s only tough games and it’s good for both Highlands and Polokwane to reach this stage of the competition. These teams are similar when you look at their qualities, they have unknowns but have hunger,” Makhanya told Goal.

“However, I believe Highlands will have an advantage and can reach the final. Polokwane is good, take nothing away from them. The planning has to change now because this is Cup football,” he added.

“What is nice about the MTN8 is that most of the finals are played by teams that are called the underdogs and they usually reach the final. It is a huge motivation for the players to reach the final because they will get bonuses and this will motivate them as they progress through the season,” reacted Duku Duku.

“Both teams beat good teams, City beat Cape Town City and beating the champions is motivating but Highlands overcame Pirates, meaning this will be a great game to watch,” noted the 37-year-old.

Speaking about the Tshwane Derby set for Sunday afternoon at Lucas Moripe Stadium, the retired winger is confident coach Kaitano Tembo’s side will avenge their Premier Soccer League (PSL) 2-0 loss suffered against the Brazilians.

“It’s going to be a tough one, to be honest, Sundowns have the experience, a fantastic pool of players and will want to win it over their neighbours,” he continued.

“On the other hand, SuperSport are trying to build a new team and have done well so far in their previous games, they will definitely want to remain unbeaten,” stated the former Bucs player.

“They have players such as Sipho Mbule and others coming through, but my opinion tells me that Cup football is all about hunger and currently Sundowns is doing well but I feel there will be too much on their plate,” he noted.

"Coach Tembo and his men are gunning for revenge here and we also want to see if Pitso will eventually write Sundowns’ name in the MTN8 because he last won the trophy at SuperSport whilst it was called the SAA Supa8,” expressed Makhanya.

“In my judgement, SuperSport will reach the final because they have been winning their games, it’s four games with no loss. I know Sundowns is unbeaten as well, but SuperSport players are in the right momentum now,” he told Goal.

“They have confidence, the strikers are scoring goals and the defence is solid. Tembo has assembled a strong squad, look at Bradley Grobler, Thamsanqa Gabuza is coming back and Evans Rusike is always dangerous - their attack is lethal,” he praised.

On his final assessment and what needs to be done in the first leg, Makhanya added that any team that finds the right balance between attack and defence will have an advantage heading to the second leg.

“You need to find the right balance, Cup football is about goals but this is different because there is the second leg. You cannot go all out and attack whilst not shutting the back door," he urged.

“On the contrary, you can’t just sit back because you are at home and hope to do better in the second leg, you may concede in the late stages of the game and you won’t have a chance to score a goal.

“My opinion says you must know when and how to attack without conceding so many goals. Yes, you may concede but not much so that you can go to the second leg and be able to equalize or consolidate.

“All in all, Cup football is about goals and the fans want to see them but I think we will see a conservative approach from some teams, less risks and then we can see all-out attack in the second leg,” concluded the Soweto-born former player.