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Nedbank Cup final - Five key points

Clayton Daniels  of Supersport United challenges Sifiso Myeni of Orlando Pirates  during the Nedbank Cup Final match between Supersport United and Orlando Pirates  on 28 May 2016 at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Clayton Daniels of Supersport United challenges Sifiso Myeni of Orlando Pirates during the Nedbank Cup Final match between Supersport United and Orlando Pirates on 28 May 2016 at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
South Africa's Nedbank Cup final will be played between SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates at a sold out Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.

The competition is the country's FA Cup and comes with a handsome R7-million (approximately US$540,000) winners' check, as well as qualification for the African Confederation Cup in 2018.

KweséESPN brings you five things you need to know ahead of the final game of a very long 2016/17 South African domestic season.

Familiar foes

Not only did SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates contest the Nedbank Cup final in 2016, but no two sides in the South African game face faced-off on more occasions in the last five seasons.

SuperSport won last year's decider 3-2 in what was one of the most entertaining cup finals of recent times. They also inflicted what was at the time, a joint-worst ever defeat on Pirates in the league with a 6-1 drubbing.

This final will be their 10th cup clash since the start of the 2012/13 campaign, and the third year in a row they are meeting in the Nedbank Cup.

That means the teams have met an astonishing 20 times in the last five years if you include league matches.

SuperSport have had much the better success in the cup clashes, with five wins, two draws and just two defeats to The Buccaneers. In overall head-to-head in the last five seasons, SuperSport have nine wins' to Pirates' five, with another five draws.

A Nordic battle (kind of)

Pirates' Swedish coach Kjell Jonevret has made a low-key start to life in the South African PSL and now tests his wits against SuperSport's Stuart Baxter, whose coaching career was in many ways forged in Scandinavia.

For Baxter, this is a final game in charge of his club before he takes up the South African national team reins on a full-time basis, his second stint in charge of the team that started with an excellent 2-0 away success in Nigeria in an African Nations Cup qualifier earlier this month.

Jonevret, a tall striker in his playing days, has been coaching since 1995, but is appearing in just his third cup final. The first was when he led Swedish side Djurgardens to the League and Cup 'Double' in that country in 2005, claiming a 2-0 win over Åtvidabergs FF in the decider.

He was also in charge of Norwegian club Molde when they played to a 2-2 draw with Aalesund in that country's cup decider four years later Jonevret's team lost the penalty shoot-out 5-4.

Baxter has been involved in seven cup finals previously, winning five and losing two. One of those defeats came earlier this season when SuperSport lost 2-1 to Cape Town City in the Telkom Knockout.

Baxter lifted the Nedbank Cup with Kaizer Chiefs in 2013 and SupeSport last year, and is seeking to become the first coach ever to win the trophy three times.

Activity vs rest

While Orlando Pirates have not played a competitive fixture since May 27, SuperSport have been involved in two African Confederation Cup matches, most recently on Tuesday against TP Mazembe.

That has opened a debate over who is better off. Pirates will feel the more rested team, but are they match sharp?

SuperSport have continued their long season with full training and games, and have looked good, but will this be a hurdle too far for those tired legs?

Both sides have tried to play down the significance, but it could be telling come Saturday.

Crisis of confidence

When Orlando Pirates won the league title in 2012, it was their sixth trophy in two seasons and there was no doubt that they were top dogs in the country.

But in the next five years their form has steadily declined and they have lifted just a single trophy, the Nedbank Cup in 2014.

They have lost in the finals of the African Champions League (2013) and Confederation Cup (2015), MTN8 (2013 & 2014), Telkom Knockout (2013) and Nedbank Cup (2016), while they completed their worst league finish in 30 years when they finished 11th this season.

They have become the "nearly men" of South African football, though this season they could be more aptly named the "nowhere men". That perception could be changed with a win on Saturday.  

Missing Michael

Michael Boxall will not take part in the Nedbank Cup final for SuperSport as he competes in the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia with New Zealand.

The loss of one player should not make a huge difference to the team, though Boxall does have a happy knack of saving his best performances for Pirates.

He has scored four goals against them since arriving in South African football. To put that into context, he has only scored five goals in total during his two-year stay in the PSL.

He also netted what proved to be the winner in the Nedbank Cup final last season, which he recently acknowledged was the most important goal of his career.

Certainly SuperSport have cover in the defensive positions, but they would have loved to have their talisman in Durban.

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