It will not just be a battle of wits and tactics but that of pedigree when defending champions. USSA Football take on Gauteng in the SAB U21 National Championships to be played at the Nike Centre in Pimville, Soweto today.
Both teams are coached by title winning coaches, making this match one to watch.
USSA head coach Godfrey Tenoff, who played his football in the PSL for a Maritzburg City side that had players such as Mbulelo Mabizela and Jimmy Tau, as well as for teams in the United States.
He is the man who guided USSA to the title last year in Polokwane, breaking the stronghold of Free State. Gauteng are under the tutelage of promising coach Tumelo Ndaba, who boasts a CAF A License.
He is also a title winning coach, having guided Gauteng to victory in the Burger King U19 Cup in Cape Town last December. This makes this final one of the most interesting and it is expected to be tightly contested.
USSA coach Tenoff said he has prepared a strong team that will make it back to back titles for him.
“This is not about me but the players. They are the ones who made it this far. Our biggest secret has been consistency and sticking to the processes that worked for us last year. We have a really talented group of players who adapt to situations quickly. I did not think they will get up and running so quick on an artificial pitch. I will be happy to win this cup for them and win it two times like Free State,” Tenoff said.
But that will not be an easy feat to pull off, as he is up against Ndaba, who also wants to change the fortunes of Gauteng. For years, the province that has produced all the stars has failed to live up to expectations in the SAB National Championships.
The arrival of Ndaba has changed the fortunes of Gauteng and the coach now wants to get to cross the finish line first.
“We have always believed that as a province, we have enough talent not only to make it to the final but to win this tournament. Our players have shown impressive hunger since the first game and even on the day that we lost to the Northern Cape, we always knew what our plans were. Now we are in the final and as the host province, the advantage is with us to win this one. We will give it our best and bring the glory days to Gauteng,” Ndaba said.
Gauteng made it to the final after beating the Western Cape in the semifinals on Friday, while USSA won their last match against Mpumalanga to be in line for another SAB title.
The match will kick-off at 15h00 and fans are urged to make their way to the NIKE Centre in Soweto.