Durban – Platinum Stars coach Allan Freese stood proud after the biggest moment of his career on Saturday night when he lead the club to a second major trophy and their first since 2006.
Dikwena were crowned MTN8 champions after they held their nerve to clinch a 3-1 penalty shootout victory over Orlando Pirates in the cup final played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
“I'd like to say it's a great moment for me personally, for the club, for the province, for the owners of the club, for the Bafokeng Royal family and for the whole nation,” Freese, who replaced Cavin Johnson at the end of last season, said after the game.
“I was happy when I got the job because every coach has the aspirations to be a head coach in the PSL.
“I did not expect to be sitting here today, but that's how it goes. In the previous rounds we did pretty well, scoring goals freely, so I'm really happy.”
The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes courtesy of Robert Ng'ambi's headed goal shortly after half time followed by a long-range Thabo Matlaba strike in the dying minutes, sending the game into extra time.
After a goalless additional 30 minutes, Rooi Mahamutsa, Ndumiso Mabena and Lennox Bacela all missed the target for Bucs, with their poorly taken spot kicks, giving underdogs Stars the R8-million winners' cheque.
Freese, who was promoted from assistant coach last season, said winning the battle in midfield was the key.
“I had said to the players in the pre-match team talk that if we win the midfield battle, because Pirates have quality there, we would get some joy there,” he explained.
“We did that and the guys competed very well.”
But he warned they would now need to guard against complacency during the remainder of the season.
“We've got to be careful now and we mustn’t think that we've arrived after winning this trophy.
“The season is still long and we've got another competition (Telkom Knockout) which starts in a few days time.
“There's still a lot to do and if we get complacent, we'll be in trouble. The players will have to come to the party and discipline themselves.”
Buccaneers boss Roger da Sa thought they had enjoyed the better of the game, but admitted it meant little in the end.
“I think we probably had the better chances – more possession and everything else – but it counts for nothing if you don't put the ball in the back of the net,” De Sa said.
“I'm obviously disappointed because when you create so many chances and dominate the game like we did, you expect to stick some of them away.”
As for their penalty misses, he added: “We practised penalties on both Thursday and Friday – so for two days.
“Every time we play in a cup competition, we make sure we have a penalty-shootout practice every day Ä but it didn’t look like that tonight.” – Sapa