at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Chippa United are not heading to the Premiership to make up the numbers.
This was the bold statement by the newly promoted team’s boss, Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi, amid wild celebrations on a cold Saturday night at Philippi Stadium following their 4-3 win in the deciding playoff match against Santos.
And that statement will send shivers down the spines of a few teams in South Africa’s top flight, especially after their wonderful performance in the playoffs, which saw them go through the mini-tournament unbeaten.
And what makes the Chilli Boys’ rise to the big time even more remarkable is the fact that only 13 months ago, they competed in the Vodacom League (third tier) playoffs.
“This is a good day not only for me, but for everybody in the Western Cape as well – white, coloured and black. We are looking forward to the PSL,” Mpengesi told the Cape Times, in between taking a phone call from the premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille.
“My goal was to be the fastest to the PSL, and as an athlete, in my mind, you must always tell yourself you want to break records. I wanted to do something special, and I can guarantee you, we are not here to add to the numbers.”
Chippa United were established in June 2010 when Mpengesi bought Paarl-based side Mbekweni Cosmos. After relocating the team to Nyanga, Chippa gained promotion from the Vodacom League before finishing second behind Pretoria University in the National First Division.
Mpengesi says he is going to keep faith in coach Roger Sikhakhane, who took over in the latter part of the season after the loss of experienced coach Mlungisi “Professor” Ngubane.
Sikhakhane is apparently a little scared of coaching in the big time, but on the evidence of Saturday’s match, where he tactically out-manoeuvred his Santos counterpart, Mart Nooij, he should be just fine.
“My coach was a little bit afraid to take over in the PSL. But I told him that I don’t want to make an emotional decision now, because the coach I must employ here must understand our culture first,” Mpengesi said. “So we will see how far he goes at the start of the season, and we are going to keep faith in Roger. We only have a month to prepare, and bringing in a person who does not understand our culture could be a recipe for disaster.” – Cape Times