Hero of the 2009 MTN8 final Njabulo Manqana, believes that AmaZulu can tear their underdog tag to shreds, shock Orlando Pirates, and become only the second KZN club to win the lucrative R8 million trophy.
Manqana belongs to that special Golden Arrows class of 2009, that then coach Manqoba Mngqithi guided to a thumping 6-0 victory over Cape Town Ajax, to hand KZN its first Wafa Wafa gold medal.
The 36-year-old retired midfielder was in imperious form for Arrows when he scored a double, that included one of the finest goals witnessed in the MTN8 final history, before he joined Usuthu four years later. Ironically Manqana has played for both finalists, having signed for Pirates in 2012 and for Amazulu in 2013.
“AmaZulu have a very good team that is good enough to win on Saturday. They must however play like it is their last game. The weekend 1-0 win over Stellenbosch has greatly boosted their confidence. It is just what they needed before a final and they must ride on that good result,” said the player with 41 AmaZulu caps in just one season.
Speaking by telephone from Durban, Manqana, who was part of the Usuthu engine room between 2013 and 2014 told This is Football.Africa that hard work will be the difference between the two teams.
“I remember in the two weeks leading to our famous win in 2009, we trained twice a day right up to match day. This was new to a lot of us and some players complained. However, we realised that hard work pays after we lifted the cup. We had great coaches in Manqoba Mngqithi and Mandla Ncikazi who understood the value of hard work,” he said.
Ironicaly, Ncikazi will be sitting on the Pirates bench on Saturday where he is an assistant coach, while Mngqithi was on the receiving end of a 3-0 semifinal battering to the Bucs as Mamelodi Sundowns coach.
Usuthu knocked out Kaizer Chiefs in the semifinal courtesy of the away goals rule, to book a spot in the weekend’s final.