Friday Dec 13, 2019. 16:00
AfricanFootball.com takes a look at three key battles that will go a long way in deciding the 2019 Telkom Knockout final.
Maritzburg United will battle cup favourites Mamelodi Sundowns in this year’s showpiece, hosted at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday evening.
The Brazilians will be gunning for their first TKO title since lifting the trophy at the very same venue four years ago, while the Team of Choice will partake in their first TKO final after a famous win over Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-finals.
Three key battles:
Zwane and Sirino vs De Reuck and Allie
The Brazilians faithful will be licking their lips at the prospect of Zwane and Sirino running at the Maritzburg defence. The former only recently returned to action following an injury lay-off, but looked as sharp as ever in registering a goal and assist in the club’s 3-1 comeback win over Stellenbosch FC earlier this week.
As for Sirino, the Uruguayan missed the club’s two most recent league games through suspension, but is set to be involved from the onset on South Africa’s east coast this weekend.
The duo have a combined 24 direct goal contributions already with Sirino having netted five goals in three TKO fixtures this season. Standing in their way is a resolute Maritzburg defence which is brilliantly marshalled by Ghana’s No. 1, Richard Ofori.
But in the expected absence of Siyanda Xulu the combined – young and old – combo of Rushine de Reuck and Nazeer Allie will have an important role to play. Allie has been there and done that, while De Reuck has all the credentials to be one of South Africa’s best defenders for seasons to come.
Madisha vs Moseamedi
Judas Moseamedi ran circles around the Kaizer Chiefs defence in the semi-finals and should’ve – in all fairness – scored more than the two goals he managed on the day.
The hard-running forward is at his best in the TKO, and having already scored the winner in a final (for Cape Town City against SuperSport United in 2016) Moseamedi will be confident that he can emerge a hero once more.
Brazilians rising star Motjeka Madisha is likely to be the man entrusted with keeping an eye on Moseamedi, but will need to learn from the mistakes made by Chiefs in the previous round if he is to keep the Maritzburg striker quiet.
Kekana and Jali vs Buchanan and Timm
The game is likely to be won or lost in the midfield. Both teams boast a catalogue of talented midfielders with Hlompho Kekana and Andile Jali’s partnership in the middle of the park growing from strength-to-strength for the Brazilians.
While Sundowns’ dynamic duo will arguably have the upper-hand over most midfield combos, the talented pair of Keagan Buchanan and Miguel Timm will bring the best out of the Bafana Bafana internationals.
Buchanan is slowly finding his best form while Timm has grown into an important part of the Team of Choice unit, brilliantly patrolling the anchor role.
With talented and creative players at their disposal – Themba Zwane, Gaston Sirino for Sundowns and Mxolisi Kunene, Daylon Claasen for Maritzburg – those in the deep-lying roles will have an important part to play in not only breaking up opposition attacks, but getting good go forward ball for those creative players to work their magic.