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MTN8 final preview: Battle of the Rusikes

DURBAN-This weekend’s MTN8 final between SuperSport United and Cape Town City poses some interesting tussles.

KickOff.com takes a look at the battle of the Rusikes.

The two finalists both boast the services of a Rusike in their striking department, with SuperSport having Evans while City possess Matthew.

Besides their surnames and Zimbabwean nationality, they also share a common age of 28, with Evans 15 days the senior of Matthew, having been born on June 13 and June 28 respectively.

In terms of experience though, Matthew holds quite an advantage having arrived in South Africa back in 2009 when he joined University of Pretoria, before a brief spell at Jomo Cosmos led to a move to Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs.

With Amakhosi, the Cape-based forward picked up two Absa Premiership titles, an MTN8 title and a Nedbank Cup crown between 2012 and 2015, after which he moved on to Sweden and Tunisia, where he also won the Tunisian Cup with Club Africain in 2017.

Evans, on the other hand, spent a number of years in his homeland before arriving in the PSL at the start of the 2015/16 season with Maritzburg United.

After two-and-a-half-years in KwaZulu-Natal, where he made a name for himself by regularly getting on the scoresheet, the lanky frontman joined the Tshwane outfit midway through last season.

Evans has yet to taste any tangible success, but this season he has already managed four goals and two assists in nine appearances, while Matthew has scored two and assisted one in nine appearances.

On current form, Matsatsantsa hold the edge in terms of the effectiveness of their Rusike, but The Citizens will be depending on theirs to cause havoc and open spaces with his robust style of play up front.

SuperSport United striker James Keene believes experience will play a huge role in the MTN8 final on Saturday and Matsatsantsa have tons of it in their squad.

SuperSport face Cape Town City for the second year running at Moses Mabhida Stadium, looking to defend their title.

Keene, who won the MTN8 title during his time with Bidvest Wits, feels they’ve got enough experience in the squad to come away with a victory tomorrow, but is also of the belief that the young players in the squad are eager to play a role in the team’s success.

“Of course experience helps. A cup final is like no other game. [It’s about] how you manage the game, how you start the game, how you end the game. There’s a lot of factors in a cup final,” Keene tells KickOff.com.

“We have great experience in the squad, plus we have a mix of the young players as well. They have a lot of energy and I am sure they are hungry to win things as well.”

Keene joined Matsatsantsa before the start of the season and has made a decent start. He bagged his first two goals of the season in the 4-0 victory over Black Leopards last Sunday and would love nothing more than to get on the scoresheet again to inspire his club to another win.

“You always come to a club and you want to win things. I was at Bidvest Wits and I won trophies there and I want to do the same here. The ambitions and goals are still there. The hunger is there, I still want to win and do well.” KickOff

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