SOCCER NEWS - AmaZulu FC will battle with Mamelodi Sundowns in a top-of-the-log DStv Premiership clash at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on Wednesday.
Kick-off is at 3:00 pm CAT.
Usuthu are in scintillating form at the moment having extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches in the league when they edged out Stellenbosch FC 1-0 away on April 9.
It was also the KwaZulu-Natal giants' sixth successive win and they are placed second on the league standings - six points behind leaders, Sundowns, who have two games in hand.
Benni McCarthy, the AmaZulu head coach, says his side doesn't have to play the best football to win matches as he praised his charges following their win over Stellenbosch.
“I can only be proud of the players for their effort, for their hard work, for their dedication. I am a very proud coach, even though it wasn’t our best game," McCarthy said.
"But sometimes you don’t have to play the best football to win matches, and three points is important. Now we go to 40 points. I’m happy for the Zulu Nation, because, to find AmaZulu at second place on the log with eight games to go is remarkable.
"It is something that is unfamiliar with AmaZulu, so I hope they are proud of this team and what this team is doing for KwaZulu Natal."
Meanwhile, Sundowns are wounded after being eliminated from the Nedbank Cup by Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, who emerged 6-5 winners on penalties following a 0-0 draw on April 18.
Masandawana set a new unbeaten record of 20 matches in the DStv Premiership when they defeated Chippa United 2-1 away in their last league game on April 12.
Manqoba Mngqithi, the Sundowns co-coach, says he knows what to expect from AmaZulu as the Tshwane giants look to defend their league title this season.
“We know what is going to happen in Durban, it is not going to be an easy one. We still have to fight,” Mngqithi said.
“Our conditioning department is working very hard to make sure our players are in a good space to be able to come to the game against AmaZulu and deliver.
"Our players know they have a responsibility in all of these fixtures. We play these matches because of their success. They keep doing well and they must take the dose that comes with doing well.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Siyethembe Sithebe: The dreadlocked playmaker is in good form having grabbed a goal and an assist in his last two matches against Black Leopards and Stellenbosch respectively. Sithebe has the ability to inspire Usuthu to a win over Masandawana.
Thabo Qalinge: The former Orlando Pirates winger will be oozing with confidence after netting the winning goal against Stellenbosch and it was also his first competitive goal since 2018. Qalinge will be confident of scoring again when he faces Sundowns.
Themba Zwane: The reigning PSL Footballer of Season will be looking forward to facing AmaZulu having grabbed an impressive first-half hat-trick against Usuthu in the first round league clash in Tshwane. Zwane could be key to a Masandawana win over Usuthu.
Peter Shalulile: The quick centre forward netted the decisive strike against AmaZulu as Sundowns secured a 4-3 victory and he is currently on 16 goals across all competitions. Shalulile will be determined to add to his tally when he plays against AmaZulu.