A year after he walked up to collect a loser’s medal in the Nedbank Cup final, Kermit Erasmus returns to Moses Mabhida this weekend eager to erase the pain of the agonising defeat to Kaizer Chiefs.
Erasmus was looking forward to winning a second straight Nedbank Cup title with SuperSport United when they played Amakhosi in the final last year at Moses Mabhida, but Bernard Parker struck in extra-time to complete a league and cup double triumph for Chiefs.
That was Erasmus’ last official game for SuperSport, the striker having moved to join Orlando Pirates, who have already lost three cup finals this season – including one to Platinum Stars at Moses Mabhida in the MTN8.
He’s hoping his third straight Nedbank Cup final – against Bidvest Wits on Saturday – will have a much happier ending, similar to the one in 2012 when he scored the second goal to sink Mamelodi Sundowns atOrlando Stadium. It will also mean a lot to him if the Buccaneers end a painful season on a high at a venue where they won the 2010 MTN8 and the2011 Telkom Knockout (against Wits).
“It’s a new opportunity to turn things around and clinch one title this season. It has been a long season and we want to finish on a high. I think Moses Mabhida is one of the best stadiums in the country and I think we have the best support base in Durban. Gavin Hunt (Bidvest Wits coach) said 99percent of the fans will be Pirates fans and that is true and it shows how big this club is. We’re looking forward to the game,” said Erasmus.
“Once we get the first goal, it will lift us all. Then we can keep the possession and start entertaining the crowd. We have had a bad season, but it’s not as bad as people make it out to be.”
Wits coach Hunt said the Buccaneers are the favourites going into the final, but Erasmus believes it’s all just mind games. After all, he knows Hunt well having worked with him for quite some time at SuperSport. “Every coach tries to play some type of mind games. It’s a cup final and whoever gets the upper hand in the game gets to take the cup. Whoever wants it more will win it.”
Wits have quite a potent attack, which is led by in-form striker Sthembiso Ngcobo. Just behind Ngcobo, the Clever Boys can count on the attacking genius that is Sibusiso Vilakazi, who is supported by the skilful Jabulani Shongwe and speedy Calvin Kadi on the wing.
Erasmus knows Wits will attack them from the first whistle to make the game open for supporters to enjoy. Watching that type of game should please Hunt, who branded PSL football as “boring” on Tuesday.
“Wits are a very attacking team. I do not think they will sit back in the final. We are not playing for points, so hopefully it will be an open game and it will be exciting for the fans to watch.
“We just hope our fans come out in numbers. The support the fans in Durban have showed this season has been great. Playing in front of them gives me goose bumps.”
Meanwhile Bucs coach Vladimir Vermezovic said the “fatigued” Buccaneers cannot make any excuses ahead of the final. “My players need to forget about the other three finals,” he says. “The past is the past. We need to finish the season on a high. I said my players are tired, but there are no excuses for this game. They are ready for it. There are no problems with injuries and suspensions.”
Pirates have struggled in the league, but they’ve been adifferent side in the cup, grinding out narrow results in the last two rounds against Maritzburg United and Mamelodi Sundowns. - The Star