It could be argued that Lebogang Manyama and Thabiso Kutumela would be two key players to watch in the Telkom knockout semi-final between Kaizer Chiefs and Maritzburg United at the Mbombela Stadium on Sunday.
Amakhosi forward Manyama has bounced back from a 4-month layoff last season to be a crucial player in Chiefs’s attack and has missed just one match for Amakhosi this season.
Manyama was recently rewarded with a Bafana call up and his deadly set-pieces, as well as defence-splitting passes to the likes of Khama Billiat, Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurkovic, could be vital.
Kutumela, meanwhile, is not the type of player you can afford to leave unattended.
The 26-year-old has shown tremendous improvement in his second season with 3 goals and an assist in the 10 games he has played in all competitions.
If Kutumela and the likes of Jeremy Brockie and Darren Claasen turns up for Maritzburg, they stand a good chance of causing an upset in pursuit of their first very domestic Cup Triumph.
Manyama has the upper hand in this regard. The 29-year-old was captain of the Cape Town City side that won the 2016 Telkom Knockout Cup defeating SuperSport United. Kutumela was not part of the United squad that lost in the final of the Nedbank Cup against Free State Stars.
Manyama has played over 219 professional matches in his career compared to the 56 games for Kutumela. Experience will be a vital issue for both the game’s potential winners and knowing how to approach matches of such magnitude. Manyama should come out tops looking at his experience.
Kutumela poses a lot of danger with his late runs into the opposition box and is also a big threat from dead ball situations. Manyama’s creativity on the other hand goes beyond just set pieces; he has deadly defence split passes that can harm the opposition.
Both teams will need to avoid conceding free kicks on the edge of the box.
Prediction: Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 Maritzburg United
By Ofhani Munyai