SuperSport United and Platinum stars are the two remaining teams in the Telkom Knockout tournament this year. The two are set to face each other in a final that, after a very long time, will be without Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Mamelodi Sundowns. In as much as the TKO final on Saturday will be between two teams that have challenged Chiefs in as far as dominating in cup games is concerned, it is also between two coaches who are, in many ways possible, direct opposites to each other.
Gordon Igesund comes across as the overachieving, well-traveled coach who’s surely got many wondering if his first activity on match day is choosing a suit for the match or choosing a formation his team will use for the day. While on the other hand, Alan Freese is the ‘don’t care’ kind of coach that has spent most of his coaching career as an understudy to his predecessors. One thing we can never take from Gordon is his achievements (or the lack thereof if we take national team duty into consideration). Say what you will, Igesund remains the coach with five league titles under his belt and he is the man who single-handedly took Moroka Swallows from what seemed certain relegation to second in the space of 18 months.
Gordon hasn’t really done well in cup competitions. In fact the only cup that the former striker ever won is the Top 8 that he won with Sundowns in 2007 and with Orlando Pirates in the year 2000. The question then: Does the 58-year old have something to prove?
Freese, a former left back, will be Gordon’s opposite number on the day. Here is a man that, although he might not dare say it himself, would definitely feel the need to prove himself. Freese needed to win a cup double last season to be handed the head coach job at the Phokeng-based outfit. That double has counted mostly to his disadvantage, with many having opinions that he benefited from the ‘hard work’ of former coach Cavin Johnson. In Dikwena, Matsatsantsa face a side that will feel they have a lot of reputations to protect as far as this competition is concerned.
Stars are the only team in South Africa this season to have beaten Chiefs in a competitive match, although it was on penalties. They are the defending champions and have never lost in the final of the competition and they still have the core of the squad that broke Pirates hearts last season. Although SuperSport are capable and could very well destroy any team on their day, they should be well aware that when facing Platinum Stars in this cup’s final, suit selection shouldn’t really be top priority.