Cape Town - An action-packed weekend of
knock-out football is upon us & we’re not talking about the FA Cup. It's
the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup.
On Saturday evening, Kaizer Chiefs
will take on Free State Stars in the first Semi-Final at the Moses Mabhida
Stadium while Maritzburg United play hosts to Mamelodi Sundowns at the Harry
Gwala Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Kaizer Chiefs v Free State Stars
Should this Kaizer Chiefs team fail
to win the Nedbank Cup this season, it will be the only Amakhosi squad to have
not won silverware for three consecutive years.
If you had to ask a Kaizer Chiefs
supporter why they think their team has been unsuccessful during this
period, they will tell two words - Steve Komphela. For this reason, Steve
Komphela's departure from the club at the end of the season is all but
Nevertheless, Kaizer Chiefs go into
this fixture in relatively good form after a 1-0 win against soon to be
relegated Platinum Stars.
Free State Stars
Ironically, one of the men linked
to the Kaizer Chiefs positions is Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael. The
Belgian has had stellar season, he took a team battling to avoid relegation
last season to the fifth best team in the PSL.
Free State Stars came in to form
during the middle of the season, winning 7 of 10 games through December to the
end of January. However, their form slightly tapered off in the latter stages
of their campaign.
No one expected them to win the
league so, all in all, this season has been a success. A cup win would be the
cherry on top.
Prediction: BET.co.za has Kaizer Chiefs as the favourites at 1.05,
and Free State Stars 2.45 for the win.
Around 3 years ago, when Kaizer
Chiefs were in a semi-final of a cup competition, it was easy to predict an
Amakhosi win. Nowadays it’s not that straightforward.
Kaizer Chiefs have the better
players on paper but Luc Eymael has his team playing attractive and clinical
football. All the pressure is on Steve Komphela as he chases his first piece of
silverware. He will need to win the Nedbank Cup or else his time at Chiefs will
be seen as a complete failure.
At the beginning of the month,
Kaizer Chiefs beat Free State Stars in the league and I foresee the same result.
Chiefs will beat Free State Star for the second time on Saturday evening.
Maritzburg United v Mamelodi Sundowns
Behind only Sundowns and Orlando
Pirates, Maritzburg United has played the most exciting football in the league
this season. Fadlu Davids’ philosophy of short passing and pace in attack has
been a marvel to watch.
Maritzburg United will be high on confidence
after beating Baroka 2-0 in their latest PSL fixture.
Mamelodi Sundowns, for all intents
and purposes, wrapped up the Absa Premiership title on Tuesday night when they
beat Golden Arrows 1-0. They only need 4 points from their last 3 games and
that's if Orlando Pirates win all of their remaining matches.
Last year, Sundowns owner Patrice
Motsepe paid Pitso Mosimane the ultimate compliment by calling him
"Sundowns’ own Sir Alex Ferguson". Following those comments, Pitso
will be looking to emulate the Scott’s achievement in 1999 and win a treble
(the league, a cup, and the champions league).
Prediction: Maritzburg United are underdogs at 1.95 and
Mamelodi Sundowns are at 1.30 for the win.
Maritzburg United are at their
best when they are at home. Their slick passing, movement, and their
on-form Belgian striker, Andréa
Fileccia, is a hand full to contain.
Sundowns seem to have sorted out their defensive frailties (which coincided
with the benching of Motjeka Madisha, coincidence?) as they have only conceded
5 goals in their last 10 games. While Percy Tau is playing like a man
possessed. Defences can't seem to handle his movement and speed. He’s been head
and shoulders Sundowns best player this season.
While Sunday’s game will be a great
advert for South African football. I do believe with their solid defence and
menacing attack, Mamelodi Sundowns may have a bit too much quality for
Maritzburg United. Therefore, I predict a Sundowns win in an exciting game of