‘Shoes’ relishing Sundowns return

Mbekile is set to meet his former employers for the first time since departing Chloorkop at the end of May, after his contract was not renewed, at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday.

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The 32-year-old has just recently broken through at his new team, having played their last two fixtures against AmaZulu and Polokwane City.

The timing was perhaps ideal as The Buccaneers could look to use him against The Brazilians given his knowledge and experience of their opponents. 

However, ‘Shoes’ is under no illusion of how difficult an encounter it is set to be.

“It’s going to be a tough game but I’m looking forward to seeing people that I’ve spent so much time with – like Hlompho [Kekena] and all the Sundowns players that I was there with,” Mbekile tells KickOff.com.

“It’s going to be tough because we know Sundowns is a great team with a great coach, who demands a lot from his players – he [Pitso Mosimane] wants to win every match, so it’s going to be tough.”

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With Pirates sitting pretty at the top of the standings, two points ahead of second-placed Bidvest Wits – who have two games in hand – and five points clear of Sundowns, Mbekile emphasises the need to maintain or even stretch the gap between themselves and the chasing pack.

“It’s very important to get this win, because Sundowns haven’t lost a game this season. If they lose against us, then that gives us an upper hand because they’ll be eight points behind us,” he says.

“But similarly, if we lose, they will be closer to us. So, tomorrow’s points are very important. Knowing Sundowns players and their coach, they’ll be fired up to win the game.”

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On their preparations, the former Moroka Swallows midfielder says though they have not had much training time, everyone is buzzing given the magnitude of this tie.

“Because we played a game on Tuesday, yesterday was our first training session because the guys who played didn’t train on Wednesday,” Mbekile continues.

“But it’s a big game and all the players want to work hard because they want to be involved, and the coaches are pushing us to get to another level.”

Kick-off is scheduled for 15h30.