Nedbank Cup: Mamelodi Sundowns are the underdogs against SuperSport United

Comments (0)
Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United - August 2019 Dean Furman and Lebohang Maboe
The Brazilians' dominance over their rivals has lasted for years but they should be wary of their opponents' Cup pedigree going into Saturday's game

Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United will renew their rivalry in this weekend's Nedbank Cup Last 32 in Tshwane. 

This one of the most exciting fixtures of the round as both clubs have a rich history and are known for their attacking brand of football. 

Tshwane Derby matches have produced a lot of fireworks in recent times with neither club wanting to lose - and this is the reason fans are already looking forward to this encounter. 

Sundowns have dominated this fixture over the years and have also been one of the successful teams in the country in terms of trophies won and representing South Africa in the Caf Champions League. 

While some believe this would be a walk in the park for Pitso Mosimane's men others believe SuperSport United are actually strong favourites to win this match for various reasons. 

Sipho Mbule, Bradley Grobler & Thamsanqa Gabuza, SuperSport United, August 2019

Whoever writes off Kaitano Tembo's men does so at their own peril because this is South Africa's new 'Cup kings'; they are the most successful team in domestic Cup competitions in the past decade. 

Matsatsantsa have won the Nedbank Cup three times since 2012 while the Brazilians have lifted the trophy just once during the period, thanks to their 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over Ajax Cape Town in Mbombela in 2015.

For years before SuperSport United's rise to prominence in Cup competitions, Kaizer Chiefs owned the 'Cup kings' crown and every opponent they faced was considered the underdog, and this is the same respect Tembo's side deserves ahead of this clash against their neighbours.   

They earned their stripes not only by beating the so-called 'smaller teams' but smashing even those considered to be strong favourites at the start of every tournament, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs included to further cement their status.  

Tembo may be less experienced compared to Mosimane who is also his mentor and a former coach, but the club's Cup pedigree is what would make them stand their ground against Sundowns.

Kaitano Tembo, coach of SuperSport United with Pitso Mosimane, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, July 2019

Matsatsantsa have reached 10 Cup finals in the last nine years and won six titles - an impressive return which will require a lot of hard from other teams to match or even surpass. 

What has made SuperSport a successful team in Cup competitions is that they have a way of keeping their senior players - those who have won trophies with the team - while introducing a new generation of players to learn the ropes and understand the importance of delivering silverware to the club.

They also hardly field weakened teams, that's how serious they are about titles.  

Sundowns, on the other hand, haven't been too fortunate when it comes to Cup competitions - this despite the quality in their squad, something which Mosimane is trying to address.

This is why the Brazilians went all the way and clinched the Telkom Knockout Cup title in December but they sometimes give too many of their fringe players a chance against the so-called smaller teams. 

Article continues below

However, history shows Sundowns haven't won two domestic Cup competition per season for a long time - this doesn't include league titles or Caf trophies.  That said, one cannot write them off altogether because whoever wants it more will have to prove it on the day. 

Also, the unpredictable nature of the Nedbank Cup is what humbled many tournament favourites and PSL teams in the past.

The underdogs have at times mopped the floor with South Africa's giants of football, and this is why neither team should underestimate the other.