Playing against Mamelodi Sundowns has always been one of the most emotionally demanding fixtures to ever play in for Bloemfontein Celtic left-back, Sifiso Ngobeni.
And that is because the Chloorkop outfit is a side he grew up supporting and his family – made up three siblings and the parents who bore him – turn against the idea of supporting him just to see a side which they love so much, Sundowns, come out as victors against one of their own.
The fact that Sundowns are already the 2020/21 champions and that Celtic’s win in today’s tie at Dr Molemela Stadium (Kickoff 17h00), will help their son’s club to edge closer to their top eight dream finish this season, does not really matter for the Ngobeni family.
For them, Sundowns winning will always take first priority each time the ‘Brazilians’ play against their son’s mother club.
As it stands, Celtic are 10th on the DStv Premiership table with 31 points, just four points behind eighth placed TS Galaxy. A collection of maximum points in Celtic’s last two league matches and a possible slipup from Baroka FC and TS Galaxy’s remaining two league fixtures, would guarantee Siwelele their targeted end goal of the season.
“And that’s just how it is at home,” Ngobeni says. “I can promise you now that everyone has set bets for my team to lose… my parents, siblings and all. It’s nothing personal, though. My family is from Mamelodi and loves the club (Sundowns). They always have. I grew up supporting it, too. This is why playing against Sundowns is always and emotionally charged match for me. I just want to see myself perform for the benefit of my team. I never like to lose, especially against Sundowns.
“This match is not going to be any different,” Ngobeni adds. “The lads are even more fired up to push for another win against them this season. We beat them in the MTN8 (quarter-final, 1-0) and played to a 0-0 draw in our first round fixture against them. They are a side that can be beaten.”
Ngobeni’s confidence also comes from the fact that Siwelele have managed to avoid defeats in their last three matches – securing a crucial win against Chippa United leading up to this tie, while Sundowns drew 0-0 against Swallows FC in their last league game. That they will be giving a guard of honour for the already crowned PSL defending champions, is a no-brainer for Ngobeni and his teammates.
However, the 24-year old defender added that Sundowns must never expect too much respect from their end on the playing field.
By Mohau Ramashidja