It’s been three-and-a half-seasons since any silverware has made it into the trophy cabinet at Naturena - a dismal state of affairs for a club once dubbed “Cup Kings of South African Football”. But that could change tonight as Chiefs are a match away from reviving their glory days if they can beat National First Division side Galaxy to win South Africa’s premier club knockout competition.
“We want to finish the game in 90 minutes. We know they are a good team and we won’t talk about their history because they are playing good football,” Katsande said. “For me, they can have possession and we can have the result. Our eyes are on the prize.”
Galaxy may be campaigning in the NFD but there’s more to them than meets the eye. They have nothing to lose considering they’ve already done the unthinkable - reaching a major cup final in their first season of existence.
Moreover, they are coached by Dan Malesela - an admirer of carpet football regardless of the quality of the opposition. Their calm demeanour and ability to play mesmerising football has attracted a large number of supporters to their home matches in Kameelrivier in Mpumalanga. And that will be another reason why “The Rockets” won’t be intimidated by the sell-out crowd at the 2010 World Cup venue. “They’ll be trying to make South Africans happy by knocking the ball around, but for us, it’s just pure business - which is the result,” Katsande stated. “To say it’s going to be easy, I’d be lying; we need to sweat and run more in order to win the trophy. They are kids and excited to be in the cup final. But whether we like it or not, there’s no excuses - we are going to do the business. I don’t know how but we’ll do it and win.”
It is matches like these that the leadership qualities from players such as Katsande need to come to the fore if Chiefs are to finally reach the Promised Land.
It’s been a roller-coaster of a season for Amakhosi as for the first time in almost 13 years they failed to qualify for the MTN8 top eight competition next season after finishing ninth in the league’s standings this term.
For the Zimbabwean national team’s former captain next season will be the first time he’ll miss out on the MTN8 competition since joining Amakhosi from Ajax in 2011.
“It’s my first time finishing outside the top eight; it’s very bad and embarrassing,” he acknowledged. “I know what it’s like to be in the top eight - as it’s only four games and you are in the verge of winning a trophy. Now at least we need to win the Nedbank as that will give us an opportunity to go to Africa because we have unfinished business there.”
Meanwhile, Chiefs have a clean bill of health, other than Itumeleng Khune, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Happy Mashiane who have already been ruled out for the entire season. Also, assistant coach Shaun Bartlett will be watching from the stands after receiving his marching orders against Chippa United on the final day of the Premiership season.@MihlaliBaleka
Independent on Saturday