Pirates, Sundowns flex their muscles


For Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns however, the four-team competition (also involving Sivutsa Stars and Swaziland-based side Mbabane Swallows) presents another golden opportunity to begin final preparations for the upcoming 2012/13 football season.
The two South African football giants, who have been active on the player transfer market, will use the matches to help their players gel into each other while also perfecting their combinations and technical approach.
With a fearsome attacking line-up that includes the likes of Nyasha Mushekwi, Eleazar Rodgers and Edward Manqele, Sundowns are largely expected to progress to the finals when they meet Sivutsa Stars in the first semi-final to be played at 10h30.
Similarly, Pirates are also widely tipped to dominate Swallows in the other semi-final at 13h00. Bucs coach Augusto Palacios is likely to field forgotten midfielder Onyekachi Okonkwo, Patrick Phungwayo, Aubrey Ngoma and Sifiso Myeni during the match.
The winner of the tournament will donate the R200 000 prize to a local charity.
Bucs skipper Lucky Lekgwathi, who is looking forward to the tournament, predicts a very tough 2012/13 season and points out that all the teams will be eager to wrestle the title from the League Champions.
"The preparations [for the upcoming season] have been good so far and hopefully we can carry on polishing up for the new season with this tournament on Sunday. These matches are very important because we cannot afford to be complacent in our approach," says Lekgwathi.
"To me, the most important thing for us is to start the new season on a positive note by collecting as many points as we can. This will put more pressure on the other teams," he adds.