Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs will bring South Africa to a standstill on Wednesday evening when they line-up in the Telkom Knockout final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
The match, which many regard as a dream line-up, brings together two of South Africa’s most glamorous teams in a game that was sold out in less than three hours when tickets were released last month.
Amakhosi are undoubtedly the favourites for the clash considering their rich history in the Telkom Knockout.
The Soweto giants have reached 16 out of the previous 33 finals since 1982 and won the title a mammoth 13 times. To put their dominance into perspective, the next best team in League Cup history is a list of teams that have two titles apiece.
The Brazilians are one of those teams, but the Tshwane outfit have even more history against them. They have never beaten Chiefs in six previous finals in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era and lost all eight finals against Amakhosi in domestic history.
Sundowns captain Ramahlwe Mphahlele admits that their opponents are drenched in history, but is quietly confident in his own side’s chances.
“Chiefs have won the Telkom Knockout more than any other team in South Africa, so they know how to win cups,” he said.
“They are one of the biggest teams in South Africa – they are playing well and they are very organised.
“But come the 16, I think whichever team takes their chances will come out victorious. We are happy that we are in the final. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in a Telkom Knockout final so we are looking forward to the game.”
Mphahlele (quad) is a doubt for the game, along with Denis Onyango (shoulder) and national Under-23 skipper Keagan Dolly, who arrived late from South Africa’s successful Olympic qualification campaign in Senegal over the weekend.
The last time Pitso Mosimane’s men did reach the final was back in 2012, the year they ended runners-up to Bloemfontein Celtic, one of six silver medals in their cabinet.
They have two crowns to their name, but those date way back in history to 1999, which is 16 years ago, and before that to 1990, prior to the PSL era.
Another staggering statistic is that five of the previous six final meetings between the two sides have all gone to penalties, with Chiefs holding a 100 percent record in that column too.
Veteran Amakhosi midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane believes Steve Komphela’s side have little choice, but to lift the title, particularly after they lost the MTN8 final earlier this season.
“I don’t think we need to advise our teammates on how to win the trophy, or how it felt to win it,” he said. “It’s part of our job to win silverware, and this one is no different to any other silverware.
“We are well aware of our job as players, and we know what we need to do. We will have to work hard to win this one.”
Amakhosi opted not to talk about player availability ahead of the clash as their team management played their cards close to their chest.
And one final incentive for Chiefs, if they needed any – coach Komphela has never won a trophy having twice been a runner-up. Opposite number Mosimane, on the other hand, is aiming to first man to win every major trophy as a coach in South African football.
Kick-off is at 18h00.