Big money incentive for Baroka, Celtic
JOHANNESBURG - Dylan Kerr and John Maduka may have different targets for the remainder of the Premiership season but they’ll both know that being Nedbank Cup finalists could be the fuel that may drive them to the promised land.
Kerr’s Baroka FC will lock horns with Maduka’s Bloemfontein Celtic in the first semi-final at Orlando Stadium this afternoon (2pm kick-off).
As usual, Baroka find themselves languishing in the relegation dogfight as they are three points and places ahead of the automatic drop zone. And with a host of matches still to be played in the league, they know they are not out of the woods yet.
Last season, the Ga-Mphahlele-based side saved their top-flight status on the last day, albeit achieving the improbable by winning the Telkom Knockout in December 2018. But given the Nedbank Cup is the last domestic trophy of the season, that could very well increase their tempo to fight until the end.
However, Bakgaga will need ample tricks up their sleeves - if they are going to face either Mamelodi Sundowns or Bidvest Wits in the final on September 8 - especially coming up against a Celtic side that also still has everything to play for.
Phunya Selesele’s financial challenges are well documented, and that they’ve managed to fork out money for going through the compulsory Covid-19 testing routines and paying for the accommodation in the bio-bubble was no child’s play.
It is then a no-brainer that they’ll be willing to fight tooth and nail to take a gigantic step closer to a cool R7 million cheque.
In the bigger scheme of things, Maduka, who recently took over the reins from Lehlohonolo Seema who joined Chippa United, might think of a final as a way of making a grand entrance in the elite league.
And having something as a final to look forward to at the end of the season, might also involuntarily push Celtic to secure a top-eight finish as they are ninth on the standings, three points behind eighth-placed Highlands Park, who have played a game more.