Kaizer Chiefs won the Maize Cup after the final against Free State Stars went to penalties. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

ORKNEY  Kaizer Chiefs won the Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup at the expense of Free State Stars with a 6-5 victory on penalties. 

Amakhosi reached the final after beating ABC Motsepe League side ABC Motsepe League 2-0 in the first semifinal. Ea Lla Koto went past Chippa United with a 3-1 win in penalties after the match ended goalless.  

Chiefs and Stars’ approach for the final was different. 

The Bethlehem side kept the core of the team that beat the Chilli Boys while Amakhosi fielded a completely different team from the one that beat Buya Msuthu. 

This was almost Chiefs at full strength with a potent attack and a midfield packed with ball players while Willard Katsande added muscle.

Leonardo Castro led the attack with Khama Billiat just behind him while Siphelele Ntshangase and Kabelo Mahlasela played a supporting role. 

The Glamour Boys attacked from the first whistle with new coach Giovanni Solinas watching from the stands.

The Italian will take over from Mabedi once he gets his work permit. 

Solinas inherits a good team with a solid foundation in Chiefs’ quest to end a three-year barren run. Eager Chiefs’ fans braved the cold to come here in a decent turnout.

Most of them wanted to catch the first glimpse of Billiat, the club’s marquee signing in this transfer window. The Zimbabwean received the loudest cheers when his name was mentioned by the announcer. 

Just before the half-hour mark those fans who had cheered for his name celebrated Amakhosi taking the lead. 

Billiat had a hand in that goal, coming up with the assist with Castro finishing the move even though in between that there was a touch from a Free State player who directed the ball into the path of the Colombian forward. 

What Billiat did well in this goal was the time he bought for Castro to make the run into the box.

This move was an all-too familiar combination for Billiat and Castro. The pair formed a deadly trio at Mamelodi Sundowns, nicknamed CBD with Keagan Dolly the third member. 

Amakhosi will need such combination and more in the upcoming season to wash away the disappointment of the past three seasons. 

Chiefs put their foot off the pedal and Ea Lla Koto made them pay. 

Katsande conceded a needless penalty that was scored by Eleazer Rodgers, taking the match to penalties. 

Chiefs scored all six of their penalties, while Stars missed one to give Amakhosi victory in this pre-season tournament. 


IOL Sport

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