The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban will be the centre of attraction again tomorrow evening as the iconic venue plays host to the Telkom Knockout final between the country’s most glamorous outfit Kaizer Chiefs and the country’s most expensive side Mamelodi Sundowns. This will see two of the land’s finest tacticians Steve Komphela and Pitso Mosimane go head to head in what is sure to be the most calculated match in recent times. For Komphela, this will be the second time he goes all the way in a cup competition this season, but will no doubt be hoping for a different outcome.
Bernard Parker is one of Chiefs’ most experienced players and says they’ve recovered from the woeful MTN8 final earlier in this campaign: ‘Yes it’s another one. Another cup final in three months. We’ve put the MTN behind us and look now we’re in the final of the Telkom cup. This time around we cannot let it slip through our hands. We want it more than anyone else. We even got word from the chairman himself that he wants it’. Having worked with Mosimane at national level, Parker knows that the Brazilians coach has done his homework.
The former Bafana Bafana striker says: ‘I’ve worked with the coach (Pitso) and he can point out each and everyone of us here individually. Our strenths and weaknesses. But we’re just focusing on ourselves and nothing else. If we can give our best, I believe with the quality we have in this team no one can beat us.’ Another Chiefs stalwart, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, will be desperate for a better showing than the last time out should he play. Although he has been relegated to the bench in the last few matches, he will be important in that dressing room in such a high pressure game.
He says: ‘I think in the first final we didn’t play as we were supposed to. Both as a team and as individuals. We saw our mistakes and we’re hoping with this final we can rectify them’. Yeye, as he’s affectionately known, went on to heap praise on their opponents, and perhaps inadvertently assume the underdogs tag. The 33-year-old says: ‘Sundowns is the best team in the country. They’ve been doing well, scoring goals. Best players individually, and the best coach. We respect that and know that as a team. But it ends there with the respect. For you to be champions you need to beat the best, and they don’t come better than Sundowns.’
Chiefs will take heart from the fact that the last time they played the Telkom Knockout final against Sundowns in 2007, they emerged victorious with a 3-2 win on penalties.