Fearless ‘Shaka’ ready for Amakhosi clash
Tornado midfielder Simphiwe “Shaka” Dlamini, who will be making his fourth appearance in the Nedbank Cup Last 32 stage, says experience will count for something when they meet Kaizer Chiefs at Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Sunday.
The former EC Bees vice-captain made his debut in the lucrative cup competition when he represented former Vodacom League [now ABC Motsepe League] side Island FC, where they lost 3-1 to Mamelodi Sundowns.
In 2017 Dlamini was also part of the Bees’ squad that lost 3-1 to Orlando Pirates at the same NU 2 venue.
Last season, Dlamini was again included in the squad that made headlines around the country after standing up to the former African champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria.
Dlamini and his teammates shocked the country when they managed to take the lead in the 16th minute through a goal by Bongani Chikila.
But that lead only lasted for 46 minutes after Brazilians captain Hlompho Kekana fired back with a brace, and Thapelo Morena followed with another goal in the 76th minute to solidify their lead. Bees lost that game 2-1.
“I have learnt a lot over the years when it comes to playing games like the Nedbank Cup, so we cannot start panicking now, because we are going to face a big team.
“You can respect an opponent like Chiefs, but when we’re in the field of play we are all equal,” said Dlamini.
“We only need to work extra hard and play the football we all know as a team, because if we manage to do that we won’t find ourselves in limbo.”
Dlamini said although Chiefs had suffered a 2-1 loss against Zesco United in a Caf Confederations Cup encounter over the weekend, they had to brace themselves for the tough encounter.
“Whether they lost or won where they were playing is not our business as players.
“Because Chiefs always perform, and even in Africa [Caf Confederations Cup] they lost after putting up a good fight.
“So we can’t take them for granted, because this is going to be a difficult game for both sides and I’m ready to fight for my team.
“We even spent New Year’s Day preparing for the league, and the guys are fit and ready to showcase what this team can do.”
Dlamini added: “Even on the log we are not in a bad position. We are sitting at number two with 32 points.
“But we are going to push because we need to defend the league title in order to qualify for playoffs again this season,” he said.
Dlamini’s teammates at Bees, Teboho “Jovis” Moeti, Tebogo “Billy Motshabasi, Lonwabo Mhlakaza and Khanya Mini, who got the Nedbank Cup man of the match blazer for his stunning performance against Sundowns, are part of the squad preparing to host Chiefs.
Tshepo Motsoeneng’s charges will go into this crucial sold out encounter without one of their notable players – Thabiso “Forlan” Mikaele.
The central midfielder is out nursing a broken arm, but he was present at the training sessions the club has been holding at Jan Smuts Stadium since Monday...