#TuksSport: AmaTuks not to give up without a fight against Sundowns in the 2024 Nedbank Cup quarterfinals

Posted on April 12, 2024

90 minutes of faultless football and an ability to capitalise on Mamelodi Sundowns’ mistakes is the challenge that awaits AmaTuks on Friday when they play the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup. 

The odds are certainly stacked against AmaTuks. Since 2022, Sundowns have gone 40 DStv Premiership league games without tasting defeat. They were victorious on 31 occasions and have drawn nine times. Sundowns are the current log leaders with 16 wins in 20 games, scoring 35 goals and only conceding five. 

If the internet is to be believed, AmaTuks has yet to beat Sundowns. Their best result so far was playing to a 1-all draw in 2013.

Frank Mpedi, who has more than 100 caps to his name playing for AmaTuks, however, emphasised that he and his teammates will not rock up in Atteridgeville to play for the sake of playing. 

"We are going to play to win, and we know to do so will mean we must be at our utmost best. There is no shying away from the fact that Mamelodi Sundowns is one of the best teams in Africa. You do not lose in 40 games playing lousy football. 

"Sundowns are so formidable because of the depth of their player squad. They can select any player and still win. Every player knows what is expected from them on the field, and they have fine-tuned the art of playing as a team. They don't get rattled even if things don't go their way.

"But then again, games can be won or lost by mistakes at crucial times in football. It is about making the most of every scoring opportunity, even if few. We aim to punish Sundowns when they slip up."

AmaTuks is having a dream season. They are second on the log in the Motsepe Foundation Championship, having won 12 of their 23 games and having lost only on three occasions. AmaTuks have been unbeaten in their last five games.

A definite highlight for Mpedi was their game against the Hungry Lions.

"At one stage, we have been with our backs against the wall. One of our players got red-carded, and we were trailing 1-0. But we were not going to give up. That never-say-die attitude helped us to win 2-1. It is our team spirit which carried the day for us. It was one for all and all for one."

There can be no arguing that Tlisane Motaung turned things around since he took the reins as head coach of AmaTuks. He has given the team a competitive edge. AmaTuks nearly qualified to play in the Premier League in his first year as coach. Last year was a rebuilding phase due to the team losing quite a few of their star players. 

Asked what makes Motaung a good coach, Mpedi said, "He is one of the most honest individuals I know. There is never any middle-of-the-road when he coaches. To him, something is either done the right way or not. He is not shy about letting you know when you have made a mistake. He only does so because he wants us to be the best we can be and because he wants the team to win."

Kick-off is at 19:00 on Friday, 12 April at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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