Baroka look to upset Sundowns

Mamelodi Sundowns and Baroka FC will lock horns in a Telkom Knockout quarterfinal clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 3:00pm CAT.

Baroka earned their place in the final eight with a 2-0 win over Golden Arrows on last month. Collins Makgaka and Tebogo Sodi scored the goals for the Limpopo side as they made the most of home advantage.

Bakgaga are playing in just their third edition of the Telkom Knockout. Last year they eliminated Cape Town City in the last 16 before falling to Bidvest Wits in the quarterfinals, and will be hoping to avoid a similar fate when they come up against their heavyweight visitors in this clash.

Sundowns were made to work hard for their spot in the quarterfinals, as they edged Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 at home thanks to a goal from Uruguayan attacker Gaston Sirino. Manager Pitso Mosimane later said the match was the same standard as he has experienced in the Caf Champions League.

This will be a first-ever cup meeting of Baroka and Sundowns, though the teams have clashed in four league matches since the Limpopo side’s promotion to the top flight in 2016.

Bakgaga have given head coach Wedson Nyirenda compassionate leave after he lost his mother to illness last week. Assistant coach Matsemela Thoka will subsequently man the touchline this weekend.

Most Recent Starting 11:

Baroka FC: Chipezeze; Gebhardt, Makume, Sibiya, Kgoetyane, Mosele, Mdantsane, Sodi, Makgaga, Chawapiwa, Makgantai.

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango; Lakay, Lebusa, Nascimento, Ngcongca, Kekana, Jali, Maboe, Zwane, Sirino, Mahlambi.

What They Said:

Baroka FC assistant coach Matsemela Thoka

"It will be very important for the team to win this match, for the coach, and for us as a team to pick up momentum," said Thoka.

"We are not doing very well in the league so winning this game on the weekend will be very good for us going forward. "There is nothing different between us and them, we will respect them and give them the respect they deserve, but no we are not afraid of them."

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane

“If this was Europe then that [rotation] is a given because they do that in the League Cup and give other players a chance. The Telkom Knockout is like the League Cup, but you have to understand and respect South Africa,” said Mosimane. “The fans here are not happy when clubs do that - they love the Cup. They don’t say, ah it’s just a League Cup. To be honest this is a Cup where you have to give other guys a chance, but we have had a different start and we need to pick up momentum.

“We are not really free-flowing. We are not in that easy space to say we can rotate. So I don’t think we will go that way. We will try and gain momentum, maybe win three games in a row because I know when Sundowns can go three or four games in a row then it’s fireworks.”

Key Players:

Baroka FC

Talent Chawapiwa: The wing-wizard has yet to hit the sort of form that attracted strong interest from Kaizer Chiefs at the end of last season, but there is no doubt he will up his game with the Brazilians in town this weekend. If up fort he challenge, the Sundowns fullbacks could be in for a long afternoon.

Matome Kgoetyane: The Bakgaga fullback has played every minute for the club this season and will have to be at his best if Baroka are cause an upset in the Limpopo province, against a very attacking ‘Downs outfit.

Mamelodi Sundowns

Gaston Sirino: Following a slow start to the season, Sirino has seemingly found his form with two goals in his last two games. Mosimane will be counting on the Uruguayan attacker to lead the Brazilians past Baroka, as Sundowns set their sights on TKO glory.

Tiyani Mabunda: In the absence of suspended Hlompho Kekana, Mosimane could call on Mabunda to man the midfield. Against a Baroka side that is expected to sit back and hit on the counter, ‘Sugar’ could play a pivotal role in steering the Brazilians ship in absence of their skipper.