Why Sundowns will win – Khaya Ndubane
On paper this was supposed to be arguably Sundowns’ toughest fixture in the competition, with the Brazilians failing to beat the Students last season and this campaign. The two teams, indeed, have drawn their the last four league matches. However, the latest developments in the Wits camp have made Sundowns the favourites to easily win this match. With Wits having sold their Premiership status to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, it means some of the Wits players go into this match not knowing where their futures lie next season, and that’s certainly not the best way to prepare for a game of this magnitude. Gavin Hunt is one of the best coaches in the PSL, but he too knows that he is up against it against Pitso Mosimane’s side. Hunt might have tried to motivate his players by saying they must use this match to sell themselves to potential suitors, but I don’t think the players would want to break their legs for a team that has already been sold. Would getting themselves injured for a team that no longer needs their services be worth the effort? I don’t think so! I think Hunt knows this too hence he has promoted so many youngsters going into this encounter. He knows that the youngsters are the ones who could use this opportunity to market themselves, rather than tried and tested players like Thabang Monare and Sifiso Hlanti. I therefore predict an easy 4-1 win for the Brazilians.
Why Wits will win – Jonty Mark
On the face of it, Bidvest Wits couldn’t be going into this Nedbank Cup semifinal in more of a mess. The club have been sold, many players have no idea where they will be playing next season, and on top of that, there have been months of no football, so plenty of time for anger to stew at the Clever Boys, who had to have a clear-the-air meeting with TTM’s owners as recently as Monday. And yet, knockout competitions in particular are littered with stories of clubs triumphing in the face of severe adversity. In last season’s Nedbank Cup final, it was TS Galaxy, not really anywhere in the National First Division, who stunned Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup final. Remember Wigan beating Manchester City to win the FA Cup in the season they were relegated? Wits’ tale, meanwhile, isn’t even one of an underdog going up against a powerhouse. Wits have one of the best squads in the country, packed with internationals, and surely they want to send the club out with one final hurrah, even if Wits’ owners have hardly covered themselves in glory with the way they have handled the sale? Gavin Hunt is a superb coach, and will surely use all of this anger to motivate his squad, for one final push before it all goes to pot. Sundowns, meanwhile, are also going into this game as under-cooked as everyone else in the country, so I am going to pick Wits to sneak a 1-0 win.