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Nedbank Cup

‘Messi’ Mabena Could Dash Downs’ Treble Hopes

Earlier This year, Pitso Mosimane likened Bloemfontein Celtic captain Ndumiso Mabena to FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi due to his style of play. Now, as they prepare to square off in the Nedbank cup final, the player could dash his side’s hope of a treble this season.

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It was in February this year when Downs coach ‘Jingles’ heaped praise on Mabena ahead of a league encounter with Celtic.

“What a good team of youngsters on the wings, they have a lot of speed and they can do anything. (Ndumiso) Mabena runs the show there. He is the star of the show. He does whatever he wants. Sometimes he even walks without defending. But he scores for them, why not?

“If Messi does it for Barca, we can see it all the time Messi does it, but he influences the results. If you have a player who does that, who influences the results, you’ve got to allow him to play to the best of his ability, because at his best he helps the team by influencing the results,” Mosimane said at the time.

Mosimane is aware of the threat posed by Mabena and Co. The 32-year-old has already scored twice against Sundowns this season and will be key if John Maduka’s men are to cause a major upset.

Celtic have already suffered defeat to Sundowns three times this season falling to a 3-1 loss in the MTN8 quarter final and two back-to-back 2-1 losses in the league followed thereafter, although history will count for nothing on Saturday.

"Its a different ball game they have beaten us before and we have learned, our plan is to make sure that we give our best and we play according to our plan and try to win the game like we normally do in each and every game we approach. Though we lose some games, our intention is clear that we want to win the game. It happens like that in football, where you plan something but you get a different result, but it's part of the game," Celtic coach Maduka said addressing the media ahead of the game. 

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Meanwhile Downs will be hoping to complete an impressive treble to end their season having already managed to win the Telkom Knockout and well as the Absa Premiership title despite trailing the log standings throughout the campaign.

Kickoff for the match is at 20:00 at the Orlando Stadium.

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