5/31/2024 12:00:00 AM

Key match-ups in the 2024 Nedbank Cup final

PIC: Teboho Mokoena (left) and Miguel Timm will be locked in a fierce midfield battle

The curtain will come down on the 2024 Nedbank Cup campaign with a mouth-watering final between defending champions Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
It is an intriguing contest with key battles across the park, but we pinpoint three to watch as the teams hunt the most prestigious knockout trophy in South Africa.

Chaine has kept hold of the number one jersey at Pirates despite the presence of Richard Ofori and the signing of Melusi Buthelezi from TS Galaxy, having made 24 starts this campaign, and played every minute in the Nedbank Cup so far. He will need to be at his best against Peter Shalulile, the ace marksman from Sundowns, who is the leading scorer in Nedbank Cup history with 14 goals. With three goals in his last for games, Shalulile is finishing the season with a flourish and already has one Nedbank Cup final goal to his name from 2022. He now has 90 goals in 150 starts since joining Sundowns in 2020.  

It could be a battle for the ages between these two stalwarts of the midfield, with Timm the old wise head and Mokoena the undisputed best midfielder in the Premier Soccer League. Timm will know his opponent has the upper hand skill-wise but is a wily old campaigner and will have some tricks up his sleeve to try and negate the threat of the Bafana Bafana star. These two have been national teammates in the past and both will know each other’s game inside out, so it is about who can execute on the day. It should be a fascinating battle and one thing Timm will be wary of is letting his opponent shoot from range. Keeping tight to him will be key.   

In-form Pirates striker Mabasa takes on the Mvala in what will be another decisive battle. Mabasa has five goals in his last six games and is arguably the form forward in South Africa, a big unit who is also adept at holding up the play and bringing others into the game. He may also feel he has a point to prove after being overlooked for Bafana Bafana selection. Mvala has been a rock at the back for the national side and probably the most consistent centre-back in the country over the last few seasons, even if he is prone to the odd lapse. He is very strong in the air and will look to make sure Mabasa and teammates have to keep the ball on the ground. If he can keep Mabasa quiet, it may go a long way to winning the game.  



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