Tuks coach feels Ernst is leaving his footprint on Spurs

Ashley Cupido of Cape Town Spurs. | BackpagePix

Ashley Cupido of Cape Town Spurs. | BackpagePix

Published Feb 21, 2024

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HERMAN GIBBS

Cape Town Spurs, fresh from a rare Premiership win over the weekend, will take on the University of Pretoria (AmaTuks) in the Nedbank Cup this evening at the Tuks Stadium, Pretoria.

Spurs’ surprise 3-1 win against AmaZulu in the league suggests that the struggling Cape side may have turned the corner under Ernst Middendorp.

At least this is the view of AmaTuks coach Tlisane Motaung, who said he looked at Middendorp’s “footprint” after watching Spurs’ match on TV.

“It won’t be easy for us while Spurs are under Middendorp,” said Motaung.

“They have started using a lot of speed, and their players are doing a lot of running. But we are a side that will compete and reach our objective.”

Motaung has been struggling with squad issues in the past, but things are looking better now, and the second-tier team has had a good run of late.

“I believe this time around we have assembled a good enough squad that we can be competitive in all competitions,” said Motaung.

AmaTuks made their mark in the Nedbank Cup when they defeated Ajax Cape Town in the 2009 semi-finals, before losing to Moroka Swallows in the final.

Middendorp admitted that injuries had posed a challenge to the Urban Warriors’ effort to grab a spot in the last 16 tonight. But the coach is confident that the available players will rise to the occasion.

“We need these guys who are injured, there’s no doubt about it, but everybody needs to step up and do the right stuff,” said Middendorp.

The key player for Spurs will be Ashley Cupido. Having scored a brace in the last match, the attacker will be expected to continue his goalscoring form in the Nedbank Cup clash.

AmaTuks will lean heavily on Maselaelo Seanego, the player they signed on a free transfer after he parted ways with Marumo Gallants. The former Orlando Pirates winger is expected to put on a good showing in the match.

Lower-league side Highlands Park will be looking to secure a home win over top-flight side Sekhukhune United at the Dobsonville Stadium.

Ashley Cupido of Cape Town Spurs. | BackpagePix

Highlands Park is in the ABC Motsepe League after selling their top-flight status to 2019 Nedbank Cup champions TS Galaxy in 2020. They still have veteran goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini between the sticks, as well as the same ownership group.

Sekhukhune were beaten finalists last season, taking the lead against Orlando Pirates in the decider only to succumb to a late winner from Terrence Dzvukamanja. It was their first major cup final.

Lehlohonolo Seema, Sekhukhune’s coach, is pleased with the performance of the midfield kingpin who returned to action over the weekend against Richards Bay and scored a goal.

“The club was patient with him. He is not 100% fit, but we are happy to have him back. He is an important member of the club,” said Seema.

“He is the glue in the team, an important guy in the dressing room.

“We are happy to have him back and getting a few minutes and introducing himself with a goal. He knows that he still needs to fight and make sure that he gets to his top level.”

Tlisane Motaung, coach of AmaTuks. | BackpagePix

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Nedbank CupSoccer