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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

Mokwena highlights Pirates’ dirty side ahead of MTN8 final

"Almost every game we lose a player against Pirates with a very severe injury," says Mokwena.

The sold-out MTN8 final between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns doesn’t need any hype. 

ALSO READ: Pirates’ Erasmus has no hard feelings towards ex-lover Sundowns

The stakes are high with the winner between the two heavyweights set to pocket a whopping R8 million in prize money.

The Brazilians will be slight favourites to lift the trophy and their head coach Rulani Mokwena has upped the ante ahead of the spectacle claiming the Buccaneers have a dirty side to their game.

His comments are not likely to go down well with those in black and white ahead of Saturday’s titanic clash at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

“Of course, they are a difficult opponent with some very good players. They are playing their third final as a group,” Mokwena said before calling for a clean game.

“We understand the magnitude of the assignment and we’ll go for it as well. Hopefully it’s a good game of football without the harassment of referees and without the physicality of tackles that are over the top. Almost every game we lose a player against Pirates with a very severe injury.

“Haashim Domingo in the Carling Black Label and Nasir (Abubeker) is still not here because of the situation with (Siyabonga) Mpontshane. In the last game (Nkosinathi) Sibisi took Marcelo (Allende) out on the halfway line with a studs up two-footed tackle and Marcelo hasn’t really recovered from that.”

Despite recording a narrow 1-0 victory over Pirates in a league match recently, Mokwena is under no illusion of the difficult task that lies ahead against the defending champions who knocked them out of the same competition in the semi-final last season.

“The detail is in the fact that the personality of Pirates during 90 minutes is not the same,” Mokwena noted.

ALSO READ: Sundowns face anxious wait over Ribeiro injury

“In all our encounters, the way they start the game is not the same way as they finish the first half. The same way they start the second half is not the same way they finish the match.

‘We try to zoom into the details and we try to plan as best we possibly can. We try to make sure that the players have enough information. At times we give more information than necessary but that’s what we believe in because preparation eliminates fear and I’m a big fan of that statement. When you’re prepared you have less anxiety and when you have less anxiety you are able to read and see situations a little bit better and you have an understanding of the opposition.”

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