After crashing to Moroka Swallows in the league two weeks ago, Bidvest Wits University welcome the Dube Birds again at the Bidvest in the Students vs the Birds, Absa cup show.
The show goes on at Bidvest stadium in the Absa cup quarter- finals and the kick off is 15h15 on Sunday.
Moroka Swallows are the defending champions of this cup, while Bidvest Wits are tipped as the tournament dark horses. The Birds` Absa cup 2005 route has not been an easy one as they had to dispose of both 2003 runners up, Ajax Cape Town and 2004 runners up, Manning Rangers.
So were the Students, who were made to sweat blood overcoming lesser known, yet stubborn Sasolburg Juventus, followed by Kaizer Chiefs. Now they find themselves going head to head against the defending champions, Moroka Swallows.
The Students ` s weakness has been finding the back of the net, however, the three goals they scored in Bloemfontein against Celtics hinted that the goal drought is a thing of the past, although the Wits strike-force failed to fire on all cylinders against Ajax in mid week.
But it is not surprising that their technical team still remain optimistic of clipping the Birds wings. They are well aware of the Birds strengths, having recently lost to them and took that loss as an eye opener and have admitted that they have done their homework and are now looking beyond the Dube Birds nest.
Wits are one team that can absorb all the pressure exerted on them and still remain calm and they do frustrate their opponents sometimes with their defensive approach which they did successfully against Kaizer Chiefs, whom they beat 4-3 on penalties in the last 16 of this tournament.
If they opt for a similar approach against the Birds they might not know what hit them as Alfred Phiri is capable of providing defence-splitting passes, while both Swallows goalies are capable of saving spot kicks if the match fails to produce a result in 120 minutes.
For them to feel positive about upsetting Swallows given their current form, Wits must have really done their homework. Knowing that the Birds lost to bottom of the log Bush Bucks will give De Sa`s boys more hope of pulling an upset.
Old horse, Dennis Lota, is capable of always rising to the occasion on a bigger stage and with all the attention he and the on-form Cecil Oersen will be getting, Shaun Permall is likely to come to the fore and do the damage again, while Alois Ngwerume showed that he can come off the bench to score vital goals as well.
Leonard Xaba and Thierry Mouyomma form a solid partnership at the back for Wits. However the duo failed their first test against the Birds but they have a second chance this week-end (call it a supplementary exam for the students' purposes) whether they pass it this time remain to be seen.
The Birds need not read too much on their win against Bidvest Wits in the past two weeks as cup games are always a different ball game. They will be happy to welcome back captain, Goodman Mazibuko, who missed the league game at the Bidvest because of suspension. You cannot keep a good man down and the Students do know that, so they will have to plan accordingly for the Dube Birds skipper.
The Absa cup exit door is wide open and ready to use. After 17H30 on Sunday the door will slowly slide to close. Just who will be on the either side of the Absa cup sliding door when it closes, only time will tell. Dream it, Live it.
By : Patrick Zikalala