Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has warned his players against underestimating Bidvest Wits in Saturday’s Nedbank Cup semi-final match at Orlando Stadium.
Wits will be winding up their PSL business when football resumes in South Africa after their top flight league status was acquired by GladAfrica Championship side Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.
However, coach Gavin Hunt and his charges have vowed that they will bow out on a high as they chase Nedbank Cup glory, a stance which appears to worry Mosimane.
“We have a big game against Wits of course and if you listen to their statements‚ they’re saying that they want to go out in style‚” Mosimane told Times Live. “Obviously there are a lot of incentives for the [Wits] players and the coaches [to win the cup]‚ so that’s why they’ve prioritised the Nedbank Cup.
I’m saying what they’re saying in the media,” he added. “They haven’t said anything about the league.
They have only spoken about the Cup‚ so that gives me an indication that the league is not the priority to them. I’m not talking on their behalf‚ but I’m talking about what they’ve said.
“They want to win it and I know the character of the coach [Hunt] and the character of the team. So I know how difficult it will be and this is how I’m preparing my team.”
While Wits’ realistic chances of ending the season with silverware lie in the Nedbank Cup, they could also seal a respectable finish in the Premier Soccer League table this term.
Currently placed sixth on the standings, they are 10 points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs who have played a game more than Hunt’s side.
Mosimane is aware of Wits’ competitiveness and is refusing to dismiss them as a team wrapping up their PSL business after the Students held Sundowns 1-1 in a league match in December, before a 0-0 draw in the return fixture at Loftus Versfeld in January.
“I hope the message sinks in the systems of my players to know what they have and what they don’t… they must not say they’re playing a team that [has been] sold,” said Mosimane. “They’re playing a team with the same players and same technical staff.
“In fact‚ we’re facing a wounded lion and when you’re facing a wounded animal you know you will be in trouble if you are complacent and not being careful of how you step.
“First, we’re going to give them the respect that they deserve‚ second it’s a semi-final it can go either way. It’s a big game‚ it’s a semi-final and it’s an emotional game.”
After close to five months of inactivity, the Downs tactician has also expressed concerns about his players’ fitness which he says does not match their emotions.