Marumo Gallants head coach Dan “Dance” Malesela stands a chance to make it two out of two Nedbank Cup gold medals as he prepares his side to take on what he describes as the best team in the country, Mamelodi Sundowns, in the Nedbank Cup final at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday evening.
Malesela won his maiden title with TS Galaxy in 2019 when he guided The Rockets to a famous win over the once self-proclaimed cup kings Kaizer Chiefs.
Like any other professional coach, Malesela puts the team first ahead of adding more glitter on his curriculum vitae, as he insists that he does not include his personal glory his dressing room talks.
“I’m a bit relaxed and maybe that is because I am trying to keep the players calm but even so, there is pressure inside, we cannot say there is none of that.
“I avoid working on personal glory because it is a team thing and it cannot be about me even though it would be nice to have the second trophy. I don’t put pressure on the players about my personal achievements because it won’t be fair on them,” said Malesela.
“The less mistakes we make, the more mental we are, it will be better for us. We need to be disciplined and have mental strength and we need to be organized defensively and we know that we will have to do that and how we approach the game when we have the ball will be key. The application of the mind is the most important thing,” he added.
The former Chippa United mentor says his game plan does not necessarily involve discussions around how Downs play, instead, he tells his players to focus on what they can achieve.
“Matches are tough all the time and it depends on how you handle yourself. We have to play to make our opponents weak and we will have to try and patch up where we can but the main thing is to focus on ourselves and not look at Sundowns. We are two sides that prefer playing on the ground with similar styles but not exactly the same.
“It will depend on who handles themselves better and who does not. The match must direct you because we cannot say ‘we know that they play this one and they do this and that’. Then they come with a changed approach and you don’t know how to handle that,” he said.
Being a cup final and the last bit of top flight action this season, both sides are looking to cap off the season with a bang and Malesela, of course, wants to have the last say but would love to avoid extra-time and penalties at all costs.
“Everyone wants to avoid that but they are part of the game and if they come we will handle that. One thing I don’t want is to go to extra time because it is taxing and I hope we will be able to deal with this in 90 minutes.
“Beating the number one team in the country takes a good team to do that because they are an magnificent team because they won the league a long time ago. We are dealing with a team that is so professional.”