Maritzburg are the underdogs - coach Davids
IN A match where it is impossible to separate the contenders, the battle for the Nedbank Cup title will come down to who does the best job at handling the big moment.
In the final between Maritzburg United and Free State Stars on Saturday, Team of Choice coach Fadlu Davids has already claimed the “underdogs” tag.
The Team of Choice will entertain Ea Lla Koto at Cape Town Stadium, with the tantalising prospect of claiming the first silverware in their history. With this final being the first for Maritzburg, Davids has made it known that the opposition have an edge.
Ea lla Koto have been to a final more than two decades ago. Stars players such as Bevan Fransman, Siyanda Xulu at Maritzburg have played in final matches with other teams before, while Rooi Mahamutsa, Paulus Masehe and Patrick Phungwayo will bring that experience to Stars. “The most important thing is to approach the match like a normal game,” Davids said.
“We have to be aware that Stars are the club with more cup pedigree. They have been in the cup final and it is the first time for us and our players. “We know that we are the underdogs but we still have time to fine-tune things on how we want to play. “It is not that I prefer to be underdogs, I think it is clear that we are underdogs. It is our first cup final and we have Bevan Fransman and Siyanda Xulu who have played in cup finals and lost. None of them have played before besides those two.” Both teams have had a fairly good season and deserve to walk away with the silverware.
The Team of Choice finished fourth in the Absa Premiership log standings but Davids said they won’t call that a success if they don’t lift the Nedbank Cup.
“Achieving the top four is really something special for the club. Last season, we achieved our highest finish, seventh, and we bettered that now to fourth position,” the coach said. “Of course, it is due to hard work that everybody behind the scenes put. If you have nothing to show for it, you can’t really consider success.
“If we pick up the cup, then you can say it is a success season. The most important thing is not to really think about the next step but to set the next goals.”