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Maritzburg United v Mamelodi Sundowns

Telkom Knockout Cup: Maritzburg United deserve to beat Mamelodi Sundowns - Rabutla

16:40 GMT+3 12/12/2019
Kwanda Mngonyama & Bandile Shandu, Maritzburg United, August 2019
The retired defender has put his money on the Team of Choice to stun the Brazilians in Saturday's TKO final

Former Jomo Cosmos and Bafana Bafana defender Andrew Rabutla has tipped Maritzburg United to beat Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout Cup final on Saturday evening.

‘Jaws of Life’ believes coach Eric Tinkler and his assistant Vincent Kobola have done a wonderful job by turning the Team of Choice from relegation contenders into Cup finalists in less than six months.

Moreover, the retired defender has also warned the KwaZulu-Natal side to never underestimate the Brazilians because coach Pitso Mosimane is an astute tactician.

“Look, for me personally, I think it shows football is growing in South Africa and you’ll remember Maritzburg were struggling a few months ago,” Rabutla told Goal.

“They nearly went to the lower divisions but here they are, playing in a Cup final. Credit must go to their technical team led by Tinkler and Kobola. They are doing a great job.

“In saying that, you’ll never know what can happen in a Cup final. It’s anybody’s game because whoever turns up will walk away with it. It’s not easy to predict a Cup final but I give it to Maritzburg.”

With the Team of Choice having beaten Bidvest Wits, Highlands Park and Kaizer Chiefs to reach the final, the 48-year-old has banked on the so-called minnows’ consistency.

“I’ve been watching their games and there’s one thing you can pick up, the confidence, the teamwork, and hard work to fight for the team and the coach,” added the former Jomo Cosmos defender.

“Judas Moseamedi has been written off and he has shown his worth under Tinkler. He’s banging in the goals and the team is confident and consistent even in the league.

“Honestly it’s going to be an interesting match to watch for the players and the fans as well. I saw Sundowns coming back from 1-0 to win their match on Wednesday (against Stellenbosch).

“Scoring three goals in the second half shows character and confidence on the part of Sundowns. They have the quality but the pressure is on them.”

On the part of the reigning Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions, the Brazilians overcame AmaZulu, Chippa United and Golden Arrows en route to the final to be staged at Moses Mabhida Stadium at 18:00.

“I think Sundowns are sometimes hurt by travelling to play away in the Caf Champions League but you can’t write Pitso off because he is one of the most experienced tacticians,” he continued.

“He is capable of coming up with a good plan to ensure they win it. However, they can never be overconfident and undermine Maritzburg because they can surprise them.

“The pressure is on Sundowns. They need to win this one for their fans and there’s no doubt they will fight for the trophy. They beat Chiefs in 2015 but that’s a different game when we talk about the big teams.

“We all know when Chiefs or Sundowns meet (Orlando) Pirates, anything can happen but this is a different ball game altogether. Maritzburg deserve to be in the final and I’m sure Pitso will definitely remind his players to never undermine their opponents.

“However, I’d like to see Tinkler win this one. He is one of the best in the league and the results are there to prove it. He works well with the youngsters and they, in turn, fight for him - they run for 90 minutes.”