Cape Town - The MTN8 final between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates proved as many as FIVE things for Sport24's Tashreeq Vardien.
Here are the FIVE things that the MTN8 final showed:
1. Willard Katsande is a BEAST
Much has been said of Reneilwe Letsholonyane and his impressive showing for Chiefs in Cup games as well as Absa Premiership encounters. Chiefs are unbeaten after six games in the PSL and ‘Yeye’ has bagged six goals so far this season, four in the PSL and the other two coming from the MTN8 Cup games, but his ability to capitalise on these chances and play freely would not have been possible if it wasn't for Willard Katsande.
The midfielder put in yet another sensational performance in the final and the Zimbabwean revealed that he knows his role in the team.
“Coach (Stuart Baxter) always told me that I'm the engine of the team. I have to win every ball, I have to break down the opposition attacks so that we can attack,” said the 28-year-old.
2. Is there life after Khune?
The guy everybody loves at the moment is Brilliant Khuzwayo. The 24-year-old is one of the reasons Kaizer Chiefs laid claim to the R8m prize and were able to put one over their oldest foes.
With speculation increasing that Itumeleng Khune might be out of Naturena by the end of the season with his contract expiring, Sport24 reported that Mamelodi Sundowns are doing everything they can to lure the Amakhosi captain to Chloorkop. Khune has also made it clear on occasions that he still has ambitions to play overseas when the right opportunity comes knocking.
Khuzwayo revealed that Khune was an essential ingredient in his performance in Saturday's final and that he can’t be compared to the “best in South Africa”.
If Khune were to leave, have The Glamour Boys already found a suitable replacement?
3. Mathoho keeps improving
Eric Mathoho proves with every game he is on an upward curve - and the MTN8 final was no different.
The 24-year-old defender put in an outstanding shift and was one of three players (along with Khuzwayo and Katsande) in my opinion that helped secured victory for Amakhosi. In the first half he gained more possession than any player on the field with 13 successful attempts and made 20 passes with a 77% completion rate. At the final whistle the Bafana Bafana defender had 25 possessions gained, 36 balls played with a 78% success rate.
4. Teams WILL play catch up
Kaizer Chiefs are leading the Absa Premiership pack and will head into this weekend with one aim and that is to turn 18 points into 21 and make it seven out of seven wins in the PSL.
However, the famous words of Pitso Mosimane come to mind, that "the league is a marathon", and Baxter will remind his charges that they need more points before they hit a slump in form this season (if that ever happens). For now teams will be chasing Amakhosi’s tail for some time.
5. Kaizer Chiefs are on a mission
Baxter picked up his third trophy as Amakhosi coach when Tefu Mashamaite’s headed goal secured a deserved victory.
In the MTN8 campaign Chiefs netted 10 goals and conceded zero. Six games played and six games won in the PSL with another 10 goals scored and only two conceded.
After an empty trophy cabinet last season Baxter and his charges are hungrier as ever to erase memories of last season.
“I do think we can improve and if the players don't think that, then they won't be playing next week,” said 61-year-old.
“We’re trying to do things at least five percent better than last year. Our possession game has improved, we've worked very hard on it. Our movement around the box has improved, people are aware of our quick transitions, so we've improved things we can improve and the players deserve a lot of credit.”
So one can definitely take into account whoever doesn't start on Saturday, September 27 at FNB Stadium against Maritzburg United has challenged his opinion. Kick-off is at 20:15.