JOHANNESBURG – In the last five seasons of South Africa’s premier club knockout competition, no coach has endured semi-final heart-breaks like Dan “Dance” Malesela.
In that period of the Nedbank Cup competition Malesela was on the semi-finalists’ losing bench for defunct Garankuwa United and Chippa United in 2013 and 2017. However, he’ll be out to make amends with TS Galaxay when they take on Golden Arrows in this season’s second last round of the competition on Saturday (3pm) at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.
The NFD team defeated Ajax Cape Town in the qualifiers, Umvoti FC in the last-32, Jomo Cosmos in the last-16 and Cape Umoya United in the last-eight.
Malesela’s misfortunes make him eager to lead his team to glory.
“It’s a very pleasing thing because it’s not easy for low-lying teams to get this far in the competition,” he said. “But it would be more pleasing if we got to the finals. But, you cannot be satisfied with just being in the semi-finals. Put a medal and cup to it, and then you’ll be (more) pleased.”
Heading to Clermont, the conditions - climate and pitch readiness - are favourable for both teams.
“We have (a chance of defeating Arrows),” Malesela said. “Some (PSL) teams have struggled against low-lying teams that are even below the NFD. It’s how you handle yourself on the day that speaks volumes.
I don’t know how to catch teams on the break, I know how to play football and these players have been trained to do that in all matches (despite who they're up against). (But) we don’t know whether they’ll press or wait for us to falter, we’ll see but we’ve prepared for all of that.”
This semi-final with Galaxy must be filled with more purpose for Malesela considering that there’s an opportunity to avenge previous wounds, if they reach the final and book a date with Kaizer Chiefs or Chippa United.
Malesela and Chippa chairman Siviwe Mpengesi’s relationship hit the straw this season when the former was fired after three matches in charge.
On the other hand, Chiefs were responsible for handing Malesela that defeat with Garankuwa in 2013 as they went on to clinch the title.@Mihlalibaleka