Marumo Gallants coach Dan “Dance” Malesela has a chance to win two out of two Nedbank Cup gold medals as he prepares his team to face what he describes as the best team in the country, the Mamelodi Sundowns, in the final of the Nedbank Cup Saturday night at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
Malesela won her first title with TS Galaxy in 2019 when she led the Rockets to a famous victory over the once self-proclaimed king of the cup Kaizer Chiefs.
Like every other professional manager, Malesela puts the team first before adding more glitter to his resume, as he insists it doesn’t include his personal glory, his locker room speeches.
“I’m a little relaxed and maybe that’s because I’m trying to keep the players calm but even so, there’s pressure inside, we can’t say there’s none of that.
“I avoid working on personal glory because it’s a team thing and it can’t be about me even though it would be nice to have the second trophy. I don’t pressure the players about my personal results because it won’t be right for them, “said Malesela.
“The fewer mistakes we make, the more mental we are, it will be better for us. We have to be disciplined and have mental strength and we have to be defensively organized and we know we have to do it and how we approach the game when we have the ball will be crucial. Applying the mind is the most important thing, “she added.
The former Chippa United mentor says his game plan doesn’t necessarily involve discussions of how the Downs play, but he tells his players to focus on what they can achieve.
“Matches are always difficult and it depends on how you manage yourself. We have to play to weaken our opponents and we will have to try to mend where we can, but the important thing is to focus on ourselves and not watch the Sundowns. We are two teams who prefer to play on the ground with similar but not exactly the same styles.
“It will depend on who is best managed and who is not. The game has to address you because we can’t say ‘we know they play this and they do this and that’. Then they come with a changed approach and you don’t know how to handle it, ”she said.
With this being a cup final and the final piece of top-flight action this season, both teams are looking to end the season with a bang and Malesela obviously wants to have the last word but would like to avoid extra time and penalties in all costs.
Everyone wants to avoid it, but it’s part of the game and we’ll take care of it if they come. One thing I don’t want is to go into extra time because it’s tiring and I hope we can do it in 90 minutes.
“Beating the number one team in the country requires a good team to do it because they are a great team because they won the championship a long time ago. We are dealing with such a professional team. “