Saturday at 6 p.m., Makhehleni Makhaula and his AmaZulu squad will face Soweto heavyweights Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Makhaula, the captain of Usuthu, will have good memories of the 2018 Nedbank Cup final, in which Free State Stars defeated Maritzburg United after coming on as a second replacement.
The 32-year-old midfielder, who now wears AmaZulu’s colors, is in position to win his first championship as a captain and the club’s first in the Premier Soccer League era.
Makhaula addressed the media prior to their life-or-death confrontation with the Sea Robbers and vowed to give it his all as he seeks to eternally etch his name into Usuthu’s legend.
Makhaula stated, “To begin with, this is a dream come true for me; this is my first cup final as captain, and it’s a tremendous opportunity for me to lift a cup for the club.”
“The last time I was in a final, I came off the bench, but this time I’m the captain, and I’m eager to assist the club win a cup, as are the other players.”
When asked if it had crossed his mind that he’s on the verge of personal and club history, Makhaula responded that it had, but that it would bring him great joy and go down in the club’s annals, and he hopes that they can win more under his leadership.
Although the Usuthu camp is now brimming with veterans such as Ramahlwe Mphahlele, George Maluleka, and Keagan Buchanan, many worries remain about their temperament in important games.
Makhaula, who had one of his greatest games against Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-finals, believes he and his teammates have demonstrated their mettle against Chiefs and are prepared for one of the club’s biggest events.
“We’ve already had that chat with the boys, and we do realize it’s a big game, but it’s very similar to the game we had to play against the Chiefs,” he stated.
“The semi-final had its own strain, but now that the final has arrived, the boys are healthy and ready to battle for the squad once more.”
Usuthu are coming off a significant victory against Stellenbosch in their most recent league contest, their first in the previous nine outings and the first under new head coach Romain Folz. Makhaula believes that their last game significantly boosted their confidence heading into the championship match.
It was very good for us to win after going so many games without a victory; it helped lift our spirits. However, I can’t say we’re in a better mood than the Pirates because we can’t say they’re slipping; they could come back to haunt us.
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