TKO Final: Players to watch


Captain Fantastic: Thabo Nthethe

Captain Fantastic: Thabo Nthethe

Anthony McLennan takes a look at some of the players with the potential to be match winners during Saturday night's TKO Cup final in Durban...


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It's going to be a tough game to call, with Bloemfontein Celtic desperate to add to their trophy cabinet, which was last opened seven years ago for the addition of the Supa8 Trophy.

For Mamelodi Sundowns, lifting some major silverware offers the team the chance for some respite from their shocking league form and could be the catalyst for them to climb back up the table.

Big games such as a cup final call for players to show heart, for someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck or to mark their name down in the history books with a moment of individual brilliance.

Here are some of the potential candidates:

Bloemfontein Celtic

Thabo Nthethe

The captain has green and white flowing through his veins. This Bloemfontein-born defender is a one-club man, having made his PSL debut for his home town club back in 2004.

Called up to recent Bafana Bafana squads, Nthethe's commitment and passion makes him a motivational leader and a reliable defender of his team's net.

A last minute goal-saving block on Dove Wome in the TKO semi-final secured Celtic's place in the final and was a perfect illustration of Nthethe's value to the team. Lifting a first major trophy for the club in seven years would be the icing on the cake for what has been a wonderful 2012 for the 28-year-old.

Ruzaigh Gamildien

The Cape Town-born midfielder has taken great strides in his career this season and has put in some exciting performances for the Free Staters. It was his 89th minute header that sparked an unbelievable comeback as Celtic recovered from 3-1 down to overcome Orlando Pirates on penalties in the quarter-finals.

What makes him dangerous is his unpredictable movement and energy, Gamildien having an uncanny knack of finding pockets of space in the vicinity of the opposition box. His eye for the killer pass and ability to create space for team-mates by stretching defences could spark a goal on the night.

Lennox Bacela

The former Santos striker has developed into a more complete and prolific front man since getting regular game-time at Celtic.

He's not been amongst the goals of late, which should serve only to make him hungrier to find the net. Bacela's ability to shrug off his defenders, together with his speed and hard running will likely ask questions at the heart of the Downs defence, which lacks players with great pace.

Mamelodi Sundowns

Teko Modise

Modise has steadily been regaining his best form since leaving Pirates, and seems again to be a man inspired and playing with a love for the game.

The 29-year-old former City Pillars player would love to force his way into the Bafana squad for the Nations Cup and in Durban on Saturday night the Downs skipper has the perfect opportunity to show that he can still run the show on the biggest stages.

Eleazar Rodgers

Rodgers' game is more than just about goals. His ability to hold the ball up and bring team-mates into play with his measured passing are some of his attributes, so too the ability to score with either foot and to offer an alternative means of attack in the aerial format of the game.

By drawing defenders and releasing the likes of Elias Pelembe, Anthony Laffor, Edward Manqele, and should he play, Richard Henyekane, Rodgers is a key component of the Brazilians' attack.

Esrom Nyandoro

With not one of the quickest defences behind him, and with plenty of attack-minded players all around of him, Nyandoro is the glue that holds the Sundowns team in place.

The experienced Zimbabwean and former club captain is not only going to have to work his socks off doing his own duties, but he has the critical duty of marshalling the midfield, ensuring that Celtic's dangerous wingers such as Joel Mogorosi and Lyle Lackay are kept under wraps.

By Anthony McLennan / courtesy of the PSL website

Posted: 30/11/12 08:48

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