Posted in News on Aug 31, 2001.
On the eve of Saturday's BP Top Eight final, Sundowns' well travelled coach Ted Dumitru, who coached Chiefs on his arrival in the country back in 1986, acknowledged the "good work" his counterpart Muhsin Ertugral has done at Naturena.
"He has been with the team now for three years and has almost succeeded in rebuilding the team," said Dumitru. "It has not been easy, but he has done it and must be credited for a tremendous job."
Ertugral on the other hand, admitted as well that Saturday's game will be a tough encounter and added quickly that if the truth be told, every match between Chiefs and Sundowns holds the attention of the entire country.
"Both our league matches last year were thrill-a-minute affairs," said Ertugral. "And to be fair, Sundowns played beautiful football then and they still do, particularly now that Ted Dumitru is back and their strength lies in their ability to pass the ball around.
"Ted is an experienced coach with a passion for possession football. He has done extremely well in re-building Sundowns and they are beginning to play the kind of football they played under him before he left."
But, after the back slapping was over, Dumitru went on to wax lyrical about Sundowns and pointed out that despite all the difficulties he had encountered leading to Saturday's final, his team must be fancied to lift the trophy.
Sundowns have had a few problems to deal with, and management were due to go to court on Friday to defend a case brought by their central defender Matthew Booth, while four other players were deeply involved in negotiations to renew their contracts.
But by late Thursday Charles Motlohi had signed an improved three year contract, Alex Bapela extended his by another year and Joas Magolego was also on the verge of extending his contract as well, leaving Dumitru smiling following the gloom that had earlier hung ominously over his head on the eve of Saturday's final.
While Ertugral had none of those problems to contend with, he also changed his tune after heaping praise on Dumitru and then confidently predicted that tactically his team are superior to Sundowns and fancied them to win the cup.
The history books reveal that Chiefs have never lost to Sundowns in this particular competition and Ertugral said that, at the moment, no team in South Africa can match his glamour boys both tactically and technically and believed they will pull it off.
The last time the two sides met in the BP Top Eight final, the late Sizwe Motaung scored a cracker and Ernest Chirwali added the second for Sundowns who, whilst looking like they would score a landslide victory, ended up losing 3-2.