Daniel Cardoso is hoping he can break his six year trophy drought with Kaizer Chiefs
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CAPE TOWN - Kaizer Chiefs strongman Daniel Cardoso can rightly feel aggrieved that after playing six years for the most storied club in the history of South African football, he has yet to win a trophy.
The tough-as-nails central defender was signed from Free State Stars by Stuart Baxter in 2015, a few months after Chiefs had landed the double, which included the league and MTN 8 titles.
The closest Cardoso has come to a championship medal was league runners-up last season after Chiefs topped the standings for most of the way.
Now Cardoso is reunited with Baxter, who has arrived at Chiefs for a second stint. He is well aware of Baxter’s earlier achievements of winning the 2012-13 Premier Soccer League and defeating SuperSport United 1-0 to win the Nedbank Cup.
Cardoso feels Chiefs have so much going for them, and with Baxter at the helm, he is optimistic of winning the African Champions League final against Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly in Casablanca on July 17.
“What a great feeling it is for all of us [at Chiefs] going into the final of the CAF Champions League,” said Cardoso, who has just acquired his first coaching badge with the Irish Football Association.
“I think we have done well in the Champions League, and after a great run, we are in the final. We’ve earned our spot in the final, although there were times when luck was a bit on our side. When it has been, we have used it well.
“This is not going to be an easy game, but it will be a milestone in my career. It will be the biggest game of my career,” said Cardoso, who was capped for Bafana Bafana once while Baxter was the coach of the national team.
“I know many players will not have the privilege to play in a Champions League final, and I hope we can go all the way by lifting the trophy.
“I haven’t lifted a trophy since I joined Chiefs, so I hope this changes for once and all in the final. If this happens, it could open the way to win some more silverware at Chiefs.
“This is the right time now. It has been tough for everyone at the club after six years without a trophy. The chairman [Kaizer Motaung] deserves it. He has been great with us and showed patience during the coronavirus pandemic.
“He’s always kept his promises, and we owe it to the club to turn its fortunes around. The players know what is at stake here. We are hoping to lift the trophy for the chairman.
“Victory in the final will be good for South Africa. It is not enough to see a South African team in the final on the biggest stage in Africa. We will represent South Africa, not just Kaizer Chiefs.
“We will go out there and give it our all. We have been in a couple of finals, and things haven’t gone our way. We have worked hard for this final. We have nothing to lose since we are very much the underdogs. Their coach Pitso Mosimane knows us very well. He’s been at Al Ahly for a while, and they have won trophies under his watch. Al Ahly are a very good team, and they have won the Championship League a few times. They know all about playing on the big stage and are ranked as the biggest team in Africa.
“Our supporters have been behind us all the way. It hasn’t been the best of seasons on the domestic front, but everything could change in Casablanca. Should we lift this Champions League trophy it will lift the supporters’ spirits. That way, they can stick with us all the way going into the new season.”
Cardoso was Chiefs’ most capped player last season with 45 appearances.