Celtic unfazed by Wits' cup pedigree

29 November 2017 - 11:51 By Sazi Hadebe
Bloemfontein Celtic players celebrates a victory during the 2017 Telkom Knockout semifinal football match between Polokwane City and Bloemfontein Celtic at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 19 November 2017.
Bloemfontein Celtic players celebrates a victory during the 2017 Telkom Knockout semifinal football match between Polokwane City and Bloemfontein Celtic at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 19 November 2017.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bidvest Wits have a unique record in the Telkom Knockout (TKO) as their title triumphs in the tournament came against Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in 1985 (2-1) and 1995 (1-0) respectively.

But wait‚ that’s not the end of it.

The Clever Boys' two defeats in the finals of this competition were also against Chiefs (2-1) in 1983 and Pirates (3-1) in 2011.

This piece of history plus the fact that Wits count the Mainstay Cup (1978)‚ BP Top 8 (1984‚ 1995)‚ Nedbank Cup (2010)‚ MTN 8 (2016) and the league title in 2017 among the honours they’ve had in their 96-year history makes them favourites in Saturday’s TKO final against Bloemfontein Celtic.

But for Celtic’s stalwart and current assistant coach John Maduka‚ winning the TKO would be huge motivator for the players after their promising start to the season.

“For the players and the supporters‚ who I’m sure will travel with us in their numbers‚ winning this cup will be huge‚” said Maduka.

“We know our cup history is way behind when you compare it to Wits‚ but on the day that won’t be important.

“What will be critical is for our players to enjoy themselves while producing the result that will make all those associated with Celtic happy.”

Phunya Sele Sele‚ who will play Wits at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu‚ have the Mainstay Cup (1985)‚ SAA Supa 8 (2005) and TKO (2012) as the only major trophies they have amassed in their history.

Playing against a Wits side that lost against Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban in 2011 - a year before they beat Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 at the same venue - should encourage Phunya Sele Sele to add a second TKO trophy in their cabinet.

Nigerian striker Benson Otiti’s 44th minute solitary goal gave Wits their last winner’s cheque in the TKO while playing against Pirates in 1995‚ while Celtic won it in 2012 via a controversial Joel Mogorotsi’s header.

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