All eyes will be on the Dobsonville Stadium on Thursday as Mamelodi Sundowns face Kaizer Chiefs in a potential PSL league decider.
While Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has previously said the game isn’t “do or die” , any neutral would argue heavily against that sentiment.
Chiefs start three points ahead and with a vastly superior goal difference. They are, like Sundowns, a side looking desperately for a complete performance as they have stuttered out of the blocks.
Neither side involved in this titanic battle have shown anything near of their best stuff since the restart; each side only has won league win thus far.
The league leaders will be missing key goal threat Samir Nurkovic with fellow attacker Leonardo Castro also doubtful. But even with those woes, it could be more about being solid at the back than about causing issues at the other end.
“It’s in their [Chiefs] hands, and it depends on how much they want to win the league. It’s entirely up to Chiefs now if they want to throw it away or complete the job,” former Chiefs defender David Kannemeyer told Goal.
Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp would no doubt settle for a point with only three games left after this one is all said and done. Most of the talk around the match has been just that … talk. It’s a mental battle at this stage of proceedings with both mentors looking to put their XIs out in the best possible frame of mind.
Club legend Brian Baloyi wants the Glamour Boys to pull together and shut out the noise outside the camp.
“It promises to be a tough match,” he said.
“However, I am sure that all the players, even those not playing, are aware about the situation we are in. We have the opportunity to win a major trophy in our 50th anniversary year. It’s something that doesn’t present itself every day. That’s why it’s so important that the players go into Thursday’s game with a positive mindset because they have the chance to write themselves into the club’s history books.
“The players should stop listening to and reading about any criticism coming their way. Chiefs have a very good team and it’s up to the senior players to talk with their teammates, especially the younger ones to let them know how special they are.”
Amakhosi captain Willard Katsande has echoed those thoughts.
“We are not moved or shaken by any results [elsewhere], because the only thing we’re going to focus on is what’s happening in our house, we don’t want to focus on what’s happening at the next house,” he says.
“So, the most important thing is to control each and every game we are playing as a team and as a collective.”
Sundowns, then you would imagine, start as underdogs in this clash and for the title. Anything less would be disastrous for their mentality for the rest of the run-in. Could they conceivably come back from a loss and make up six points in three games?
Mosimane knows he must spring a major surprise on Thursday evening
“The coming game [against Kaizer Chiefs] is not in our favour, nothing is in our hands, the title is on Chiefs to lose, not on us. We’re just chasing, they’ve got the goals, they’ve got the points, they can’t ask for more. I would have swapped my positions with them to be honest. I think [Ernst] Middendorp is in a good position,” said Mosimane.
But “Jingles” has caused bigger upsets than what a win over Chiefs before. Don’t rule him out masterminding another one.
Suggested bet: Draw at 2.92