Moroka Swallows square up to Mamelodi Sundowns in the Coca Cola Cup on Sunday in what promises to be a highly entertaining match between two of the country's top clubs. (Kick-off at the Rand Stadium is at 15.15).
The Birds will be looking to get back to top form after a somewhat inconsistent run of form recently, and team manager Bennet Mtshali is aware that they will have to be at their best in order to beat their Pretoria rivals.
"We are expecting a tough game - especially after Sundowns got their first win of the season last week. They will have a lot more confidence, and we are expecting them to come at us, but we will be ready for them," he said.
Mtshali says that the players are fired up to do well, especially after coming so close to winning their first silverware in 11 years when they lost to Cosmos in the final of the SAA Supa 8.
"Although the league is our main priority, the cup competitions are very important to us as well. We have a big enough squad to be able to compete in all competitions that come our way."
Mtshali also acknowledged that the huge pitch at the Rand Stadium is likely to benefit Swallows, as it will give their two in-form wingers, Lucas Sebona and Edzai Kasinauyo plenty of space to exploit.
Sebona in particular, has been in sublime form, and the Brazilian defenders are going to have their work cut out on preventing the lanky midfielder from servicing the likes of Kerryn Jordan, Shaun Permall and Dennis Lota.
There was not much between the two teams last season with Sundowns winning their home fixture 1-0 before losing the return match 2-0 at the Rand Stadium.
Victor dos Santos, who is now out injured, scored the goal in the first round game, while Kerryn Jordan and Edzai Kasinauyo, who were newly signed at the time, scored for Swallows in the second round match.
Both Jordan and Kasinauyo have gone onto become important players for the Mighty Birds, and will be hoping to repeat their scoring feats on Sunday.
Good news for the Swallows faithful is that coach Gavin Hunt has a full squad to choose from, with long-term absentee Rufus Mokoti being the only player unavailable to him.
Although Sundowns have strengthened their squad with a number of top stars, they have yet to gel as a team and have so far struggled during this campaign - as their record of one victory in six games suggests.
But with players like Rotson Kilambe and Manqoba Ngwenya upfront, and Godfrey Sapula, Sipho Ndzuzo and Isaac Shai in the midfield, Downs do have the quality to beat any team in the country, and the Dube Birds will be hoping that Sunday is not the day that the Pretoria-based team finally realises it's full potential.
10 November 2002 : Sundowns 1-0 Swallows (Loftus Stadium)
08 March 2003 : Swallows 2-0 Sundowns (Rand Stadium)
Referee: J. Damon
Assistants: Y. Anjith and K. Mojapelo
Fourth Official: S. Motau
In 2002 Swallows and Sundowns both lost in the opening round
MOROKA SWALLOWS (0) 0 KAIZER CHIEFS (0) 1
SUNDOWNS (0) 1 AJAX CAPE TOWN (2) 3
Cautions Alex Bapela, Sundowns (56), Robert Amoako, Ajax (51), Shaun Olivier, Ajax (66), Joseph Nauseb, Ajax (72)
HEAD TO HEAD
Since 1985 Sundowns and Swallows have meet nine times in cup competitions with Swallows dominating their rivals with five victories.
Swallows v Sundowns
Cup competitions since 1985
G W D L GF GA
Mamelodi Sundowns 9 2 2 5 12 13
Moroka Swallows 9 5 2 2 13 12
Bob Semi-Final - Swallows 2 Sundowns 3
Bob Final - Sundowns 1 (Chitja) Swallows 1 (Sekano)
Bob Final Replay - Swallows 5 (Da Gama 2, Peterson 2, Grobler) Sundowns 1 (Kambule)
Castle Challenge SFinal 1 leg - Sundowns 1 (Chirwali) Swallows 1 (Grobler)
Castle Challenge SFinal 2 leg - Swallows 3 (Cousins 3) Sundowns 1 (Masinga)
Bob Save 2nd Rd - Swallows 2 (Grobler, Cousins) Sundowns 0
Bob Save 1st Rd - Sundowns 0 Swallows 1 (Ramasike)
Rothmans Cup 1st Rd 1st Leg - Swallows 3 (Rabolele, Nombe, Ningiza) Sundowns 1 (Shai)
Rothmans Cup 1st Rd 2nd Leg - Sundowns 0 Swallows 1 (Mazibuko)
(Swallows win 4-1 on agg)