Downs out to teach Wits a lesson
MAMELODI Sundowns could pull off a "Powerline FC" against injury-plagued Bidvest Wits when the two Premiership sides clash in their last-16 Nedbank Cup powder-keg this afternoon.
Though Johan Neeskens has downplayed talk of Sundowns overwhelming Wits as they did the Northern Cape regional league side, he has conceded that his team are favourites going into the sold-out match at Milpark Stadium (kick-off at 3pm).
The Clever Boys held Sundowns to a frustrating 1-all draw a fortnight ago, halting The Brazilians' goal-scoring spree, which began with their 24-0 victory over Powerline.
Yet facing a Wits side missing eight regular players, even the most pragmatic of coaches could fancy a massive win. Whereas Sundowns have reported no injuries ahead of the game, injuries and suspensions have wreaked havoc with De Sa's preparations.
Among those missing are midfielder Thando Mngomeni and defender Derrick Spencer, both of whom understand the intensity of such key cup games, having played for Sundowns before.
It remains to be seen how Wits coach De Sa puts together a team to battle the league leaders, who will be bringing out their finest, including Elias Pelembe and Lebogang Mokoena, from the arsenal.
"Every team has its problems and we can't make excuses with players who are injured. It's part of the game and we just have to go out there and give it our best," De Sa was quoted as saying.
Neeskens remains cautiously optimistic, acknowledging the potential threat posed by Wits.
"The Nedbank Cup has a lot of surprises, but against Wits I will not be expecting any because we have already played them twice this season," said Neeskens.
"I will not be expecting a record breaking score-line and I will even take a 1-0 win. A win is a win at the end of the day, regardless of the margin, and if we win, we'll make it to the next round and that's the bottom line.
"The fact that Wits have lost their last two matches doesn't mean they will be pushovers, in fact they will actually be eager to beat us and I'm aware of that threat."
Meanwhile, Santos midfielder Vuyisile Wana has predicted a 4-0 win for his Cape side against his former club Roses United, ahead of their last-16 round match at Botshabelo Stadium.
"I'm looking forward to progressing further and hopefully earn my first silverware in Premiership football," Wana said.