United, Citizens bring hard grafting passion
WHATEVER Supersport United and Cape Town City lack in glitz, glamour and pedigree they will make up for it with their common desire for success, the ambitions of their coaches and modern attacking football when they meet in the MTN8 final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban tomorrow night.
In the absence of traditional crowd pullers Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, this clash on neutral territory will appeal more to the young, modern supporter who values more the hard graft and attacking and defensive disciplines than the flashy stuff.
There will be fancy moves, too, with Thuso Phala of Supersport and Teko Modise of City capable of dishing it out, but moreso passion and determination are the key ingredients, as emphasised by the clubs’ assistant coaches.
Supersport are all about trophies, and this outing is a mere pitstop en route to their upcoming Caf Confederation Cup semi-final, second leg away, to Tunisia’s Club Africain next weekend, as they attempt to transfer their domestic success onto the continent.
City, on the other hand, are young and ambitious.
“As Cape Town City we are grateful and privileged to be in another final. We’re in the second year of existence and in our second final in 12 months, so there’s big excitement,” said Ian Taylor in Durban yesterday.
“The TKO is still fresh in our minds and there’s history here with Eric (Tinkler) being our coach last season and Benni (McCarthy) being the coach now – it makes it mouthwatering.
“Eric has coached a lot of our players and Benni is great, reaching his first final after just 10 games in charge.”
In the build-up McCarthy has said it boils down to whichever team wants it more. And more is what the Pretoria outfit want.
Individually as a coach Tinkler craves success, and he couldn’t have found a better match in Supersport, according to his deputy Kaitano Tembo.
The Zimbabwean was a player for Supersport when they won their only top eight trophy in 2004, when it was known as the SAA Supa8.
This will be a fourth finals appearance, and going by their current trophy form – they lifted the Nedbank Cup in June – Supersport will be favourites.
“We want to play in all the competitions – we’re going to Tunisia next, which is a big stage – and we last won this cup in 2004 so we want to correct that,” said Tembo.
“We have assembled a squad of good professionals, with players who still want to achieve, like the Yeyes and Furmans,” he said in reference to veteran midfield duo Reneilwe Letsholonyane and captain Dean Furman.
“Eric brings a lot of experience in terms of the vision of the club. He’s very openminded, very ambitious and easy to work with.
“As head coach this is his third spell after Pirates and Cape Town City, but he’s very experienced in Africa.”
Supersport might shade City in terms of experience, but in captain Robyn Johannes, fellow defender Thamsanqa Mkhize, who recently broke into the Bafana Bafana set-up and Modise, they have plenty wise heads to guide the rising stars like Ayanda Patosi, Lyle Lakay and Thabo Nodada.