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Josta & Spencer: 7 players to watch in Sundowns, Pirates MTN8 showdown

Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates clash in the much-awaited MTN8 Final on Saturday, and two PSL legends have named seven players to watch out for.

Josta Dladla and Derrick Spencer, who both played for Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs during their careers, have predicted a close and exciting match.

Here are seven players they believe will step up and help their respective clubs lift the MTN8 Cup.


Peter Shalulile: The Namibian striker is the reigning PSL Golden Boot winner and will be looking to add to his tally in the MTN8 final. He is among the most dangerous players in the DStv Premiership and will undoubtedly be a major threat to the Pirates defence. This season, he has scored five goals in eight matches in all competitions. Two of those came in the MTN8. 

Themba Zwane: The Downs talisman is one of the most creative players in the PSL, and he will be a key player for Masandawana. The Tembisa-born midfielder also has a knack for scoring all-important goals. 

Lucas Ribeiro
Lucas Ribeiro

Lucas Ribeiro Costa: The Brazilian forward is a calming presence in the Sundowns attack, but his fitness will be assessed late ahead of the match. He has started his DStv Premiership career on a high. Ribeiro has scored seven goals in 11 games in all competitions.

Marcello Allende: The Chilean is Sundowns’ midfield maestro and will be key in their engine room. “Currently on form for Sundowns is Allende. He is one of the best players in the league. He’s one of the players to watch,” Spencer told FARPost.


Monnapule Saleng: The Bafana winger is one of the most exciting players in the PSL, and he will be a threat to Sundowns’ defence. Dladla is convinced “Saleng should come through” if the Buccaneers are to win the tie. Last season, his solitary goal handed Bucs the same trophy at the same venue. Will he do it again? 

Zakhele Lepasa: His goals were the reason Pirates sparked some hope in their followers in the first four weeks of the season. But in the last four games, he has not scored. As a result, the Buccaneers recently succumbed to three straight wins and were booted out of the CAF Champions League. The last time he scored a goal was against Stellenbosch FC in the first leg of the MTN8 Cup. He scored the opener in the 2-1 win as Bucs came back from behind on 3 September 2023. “I think for Pirates, it’s Lepasa, but he hasn’t scored in the last three matches. He’s deadly inside the box, and I think he will play a big role,” added Spencer.

Pirates will place their hopes on Zakhele Lepasa in the MTN8
Zakhele Lepasa

Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo: Dladla believes he is a “quick player” who, on a good day, will create scoring opportunities. The pint-sized midfielder is establishing himself as a vital cog in the Soweto giants’ midfield. 

Dladla sums up the reason behind the Buccaneers’ recent struggles. “Pirates haven’t been playing well because their influential players haven’t been doing that well. Saleng hasn’t been coming through, and Lepasa hasn’t been scoring. Pirates haven’t been scoring those goals.”

On the big day, it will be fascinating to see which players rise to the occasion and lead their team to MTN8 glory.

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