Kaizer Chiefs desperate to write their names in stars against upstarts Galaxy

18 May 2019 - 13:36
By Marc Strydom
The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. File photo.
Image: ROGAN WARD The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. File photo.

Kaizer Chiefs will aim to flex their muscle of a gulf in player power and experience that the Soweto giants enjoy over upstarts TS Galaxy to try to leave nothing to chance seeking to end an almost four-season trophy drought in Saturday’s Nedbank Cup final.

The final at Moses Mabhida Stadium (kickoff 7pm) pitches a Chiefs perhaps demoralised from last weekend finishing ninth in the Absa Premiership against a First Division Galaxy who can make up for lack of experience with youth‚ energy and fearlessness.

Apart from this being the biggest stage Galaxy have taken to‚ against the highest-profile opposition – in scale‚ even if the team has waned in success for the past four years‚ in South Africa opposition does not come bigger than Chiefs – it is also their toughest challenge yet in the Nedbank.

The 10-month-old team started by former agent Tim Sukazi began the Nedbank with a 3-1 last-32 win against KwaZulu-Natal Motsepe League team Umvoti FC‚ then beat fellow NFD campaigners Jomo Cosmos (1-0) and Cape Umoya in the last-16 and quarterfinals.

PSL combination Lamontville Golden Arrows looked a step ahead of Galaxy‚ without capitalising on that particularly well‚ in the semifinals‚ only managing a 1-0 lead that the Mpumalanga upstarts cancelled in the dying seconds of the game before scoring twice in extra time.

It will be that higher-level quickness of thinking and level of organisation that Chiefs will aim to maximise on Saturday night.

“Of course‚ it’s very clear‚ if you go into it tactically‚ we definitely have a certain responsibility in terms of being proactive‚ in terms of being on the front foot‚” Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp said.

“The defence work on our side has to be maximised‚ that’s for sure.

“Having the responsibility in terms of being proactive‚ in terms of demonstrating our position [of strength]‚ of course‚ it’s not a situation where we will have a different approach.

“We definitely will go into this game with a very clear ambition.”

Amakhosi’s veteran forward Bernard Parker said tactics will take second place to Chiefs simply turning up with the correct motivation and application levels.

“The only mentality we need is for us to keep the right energy levels‚ the right attitude levels‚” the former Bafana Bafana star said.

“It’s for us to go out there to play with desire‚ with passion and most importantly with our hearts.

“And then tactics and all those other things don’t matter coming to this weekend.

“Sometimes when we have had those little hiccups recently‚ most of those results we didn’t get because those performances were below par. And our quality and our talent and our ability didn’t get us what we needed.

“So that has been a challenge for us. And the technical staff‚ together with the players‚ we know what it takes for us to win this weekend.

“So it’s for us to focus on ourselves and come the weekend we should be the best we can be.”

So unconvincing has Chiefs’ end to the league season been – going seven matches without a win to plunge outside of a top eight finish for only the second time in their history – that many have predicted a Galaxy upset on Saturday.

Dan Malesela’s unheralded challengers will fancy their chances. It is up to Chiefs to ensure that Galaxy cannot write their names in the stars as the first NFD winners of the Nedbank Cup.