JOHANNESBURG – The deafening noise that filled Mbombela Stadium and Kaizer Chiefs’ dominant display against their biggest challenge in the Nedbank Cup this season, Cape Town City, has all those who worship at the altar of Amakhosi believing that their years of drought will be over in May.
Chiefs out-thought and outplayed the plucky Capetonians who have grown accustomed to spoiling the party for the big boys of South African football. But Chiefs weren’t having any of that yesterday. They brushed aside City to book a place in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup where they will face Chippa United in Port Elizabeth. In the other semi Golden Arrows will take on TS Galaxy.
Having needed two hours of football to beat ABC Motsepe League teams, Tornado in the last 32 and The Magic FC in the last 16, Chiefs were bracing themselves for a baptism of fire against City who stole three points from them at FNB Stadium in the PSL earlier this season. But it was City who were under the cosh from the onset and throughout the match. Chiefs played like a team possessed as they looked to make up for the last three seasons where they failed to win a trophy.
Those three seasons have felt like three decades for their spoilt fans who are used to celebrating at least one trophy a season for the most successful club in South Africa’s history. Those fans, however, should keep the champagne on ice as Amakhosi reached the last four of the Nedbank Cup last year only to lose to eventual champions Free State Stars in the semi-finals.
If Chiefs fight like they did yesterday, they can definitely bring back the glory days to Naturena, or at the very least contest the Nedbank Cup final in May.
Chiefs’ conductor, Hendrick Ekstein - who entertains and frustrates in equal measure - was on song for Amakhosi. The talented but erratic playmaker was buzzing, leading the Glamour Boys’ onslaught against an off-key City. The sweet music Ekstein produced delighted the sold-out crowd who came in their numbers from all corners of SA to back Amakhosi.
Ekstein gave them something to celebrate just before the half-hour mark. He should have completed his brace moments after, but his effort went narrowly wide. His miss should have been a cause for concern for Chiefs as this fell into the script that has made City a blockbuster outfit.
City tend to start slow, almost sheepishly, in the first half. Coach Benni McCarthy then breathes fire into them at halftime. They return to unleash terror on their opponents with a fiery display in the second half. And so Zukile Kewuti’s missed free-header, minutes into the second half, hinted at another great comeback.
But Chiefs flipped the script on City. Ernst Middendorp’s tactical acumen doused their flame. Dumisani Zuma completely put the fire out with his goal just before the hour mark.
City, who didn’t show up yesterday, were truly dead and buried as Chiefs waltzed into the last four.
Kaizer Chiefs (1)2
Ekstein 29, Zuma 54
Cape Town City 0