South-Africa

Last kick of a dying horse

2018-03-25 06:04
Nedbank Cup trophy (TEAMtalk)

Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela has described their upcoming Nedbank Cup clash against Baroka as “a kick of a dying horse”.

“Being the last tournament of the season and the fact that we are lagging behind in the league, this is the one for us. We must do it for the pride of our people as they are yearning for a trophy,” said Komphela.

“Chiefs must win something in my period. This is a wonderful opportunity to give it a go.”

He said his players had vowed to do all they could to win the tournament.

Amakhosi supporters have not celebrated winning any silverware for the past two seasons and are staring at the possibility of ending yet another one empty-handed. However, the Nedbank Cup gives them the opportunity to wipe away their tears and put smiles on their fans’ faces.

With their chance of winning the Absa Premiership going up in smoke after they dropped five points in their last two league games, a win is a must to break the trophy drought.

This competition takes on more importance because it may well be Komphela’s last chance to deliver silverware as his job comes under threat.

The Nedbank Cup will be a welcome relief as Chiefs face nemesis Baroka FC at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday night.

Although they will be expected to win this one comfortably and secure their place in the semi-finals, the Limpopo side will not be pushovers.

Baroka have always given Chiefs a hard time and knocked them out of the same competition in 2011. Baroka have already beaten them this season, although Chiefs got their revenge in the second round of fixtures.

“It is not going to be a walk in the park because everybody wants to win it. That makes it more difficult and interesting,” said Komphela.

Whether Chiefs will be able to raise their game in the semis, should they reach them, is another matter altogether.

This season’s giant-killers, Ubuntu Cape Town FC, have another tough assignment against an improved Free State Stars.

Ubuntu, the only club from the lower division left in the tournament after knocking out premier division sides Polokwane City and AmaZulu, will be hoping to continue their spree at home.

Ubuntu have nothing to lose going into the fixture, having already surpassed their expectations.

Their main concern should be their position in the National First Division, where they are fighting for survival. They have failed to transform their good cup run to their league fixtures and find themselves lying second from the bottom, with relegation a possibility.

After going all the way to the final of the Telkom Knockout, Bloemfontein Celtic are also hoping for the same good run in this tournament. They visit Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium, where they got a 4-0 hiding the last time they played there.

United have been the most consistent of the lot thus far in the league and will be favourites to reach the semifinals.

But, arguably, the pick of the quarter-finals is Cape Town City against Mamelodi Sundowns.

After beating Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates on their way to the quarters, Benni McCarthy’s side have another big one against the Brazilians.

McCarthy said he knew that, to win the tournament, he would have to face tough opponents and that they would be ready for Sundowns.

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