Downs ready for Diski final showdown

2015-02-26 10:57
Alex Bapela (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns are ready for their MultiChoice Diski Challenge final clash against rivals University of Pretoria on Saturday, their coach Alex Bapela said.

Read: Players to watch in Diski final - Tuks

The first ever final of the competition will be played at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto on Saturday, February 28.

Kick-off is at 12:00.

“The preparations went so well even though we don’t have four players who are in the junior national team, the Under-20. But the preparations have been going so well the boys are looking forward to the final," Bapela told

The coach revealed that the players are over excited about the match, which he fears might be dangerous if it's not controlled.

“I am so worried because our boys are just hyper active, have you seen kids in a sweets shop? Our boys are just like that. So it’s a worrying factor because, the way they are, if we go to the game and the opposition scores a goal they might be shattered," he stressed.

“But anyway it’s good because they are giving all the energy at training, hopefully on Saturday they won’t fail.”

Bapela is confident that there is enough cover in the team for the players who are away with the junior national.

Motjeka Madisha, Keamogetswe Boikanyo, Thamsanqa Masiya and Mpho Mathekga are the four youngsters that will miss the final.

“We just made peace with it that we have to concentrate on the players that are here and not the players who are not around because they can’t help us anyhow as much as we need them. But we can’t do anything about the situation, so we have to concentrate on the players who are here, prepare them, make sure that they are ready for the game.”

Life goes on

The coach was then asked if there's any injured players in the team after their gruesome battle against Mpumalanga Black Aces in the semifinal encounter.

“No, everything is fine. My players are under 19, at that level they normally don’t get injuries, so everything is fine with them as far as injuries are concerned.”

Bapela may be tempted to use experienced midfielder Lebohang Mokoena, who scored a brace in the semifinal tie. But he says it will depend on whether the senior side plan to use him or not.

“You must remember that at Sundowns, the senior players that I get, I just get them for them to get game time and the senior team coach is looking at them. So obviously for the senior coach, the first team is a first priority, if he sees it fit to recall "Cheese" to go play for the senior team – it will mean that I don’t have him but life goes on," he said.

The coach revealed that has did get a chance to study their opponents Tuks and is confident going into the final.

“You know, I was lucky because in all the games that we played, the quarterfinals and the semifinals they were playing before us and every game I made sure that I sit on the stands and watch them play. And I saw their game against Pirates, I saw their game against SuperSport United, I know much about them.

"So I’m not worried that much I’m just worried about us if on the day the taxis or everything will be spot on.”

Raising profile

Bapela also talked about what it will mean on a personal note to win the Diski Challenge.

“Of course it will raise my profile, you know since we started I’ve been saying I’m either a good coach or the players I have are very good. Because, you know, this Sundowns team I got it from nowhere. The players were scattered I had to put them together in three or four days before they played the first game.”

“And for them to reach the finals I think that’s an achievement on it’s own, so it will raise my profile very much," he emphasised.

The club's former midfielder further revealed that the players are motivated and keen to win the trophy.

“All the players are happy, the boys are bringing in passports, they are excited about going to Europe. Everything is just pointing to Holland, so I don’t think they will want to disappoint on the day. Hopefully by the end of 90 minutes on Saturday we will be on our way to Holland," Bapela concluded.


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