Mbombela Super Cup offers valuable experience
MBABANE Swallows coach Mpendulo Ngwenya says playing against Mamelodi Sundowns in a friendly game last week was a blessing in disguise for them to be exposed to South African football before they play Orlando Pirates.
Swallows and Pirates, who are champions in their respective countries, will square up in the second semifinal of the Mbombela Super Cup on Sunday at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit (1pm).
Ngwenya says they expect a tactically different team in Pirates, hence the focus on their friendly game against Sundowns was to ensure that most of the players who would feature on Sunday got 90 minutes game time.
“It was a blessing in disguise for us to be exposed before we play Pirates. Our players learnt something from playing against professional players,” said Ngwenya.
Sundowns, who are currently in Swaziland for their pre- season, beat Swallows 4-0 in a friendly game that was played last Sunday at Mavuso Sport Ground.
The Swallows-Pirates match is made all the more intriguing because the Swazi side wants revenge for their defeat by the Buccaneers in the 2006 CAF Champions League. In their last meeting, they played to a 2 all draw at Kanyamazane Stadium. They eventually lost 7-3 on aggregate,having lost 5-1 at Somhlolo Stadium.
In Swallows, Pirates face a known quantity. Familiar faces in the Swallows colours will include ex-Santos Tony “TT” Tsabedze and the duo of ex Jomo Cosmos’ players Darren Christie and Mfanafuthi “Taribo” Bhembe.
“I’m happy that we were drawn against Pirates. My dream was to play against either Sundowns or Pirates rather than Sivutsa Stars. At least we know how Pirates and Sundowns play as compared to Sivutsa,” said Tsabedze.
Pirates are expected to field some of their new signings, including Onyekachi Okonkwo, Ayanda Gcaba, Khethokwakhe Masuku and Patrick Phungwayo.
Sivutsa Stars will be faced with a tough task when they come up against Sundowns in the first of the semi-finals at 10:30am. Charles “Zala” Nkosi, Sivutsa PRO said they are ready to take on the star-studded Sundowns outfit. “We want to keep the trophy in Mbombela and to do that we have to win the semi- final. We are ready for this game and the players are expected to do a great job on the field of play on the day. We don’t mind who wins the second semi-final, as we will be ready for them,” said Nkosi.
Gates will open at 8am.