Johannesburg – Former Orlando Pirates leftback Patrick Phungwayo is eyeing his third Nedbank Cup crown, this time with Free State Stars.
In 2010 he was with Bidvest Wits when they won the cup and he then enjoyed victory with Pirates in 2014.
With those victories having come four years apart, it is perhaps understandable that Phungwayo is dreaming of success now, four years since the last.
Ea Lla Koto play Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-final of on April 21 in Durban and victory there will see them face either Maritzburg United or Mamelodi Sundowns in the final to be played next month.
“Yes, this cup seems to be loving me but it is tricky this time around,” Phungwayo mused. “We are playing against a big team. Chiefs haven’t won anything this season and their last hope of clinching a trophy is the Nedbank Cup. It is going to be very tricky ... They want it and we also want it.”
Stars lost 1-0 to in the league last week, a defeat Phungwayo insists will do them no harm in their push for cup victory.
“It is not all about the defeat we suffered in the league against them. We are in the semi-final and we want to reach the final. Our aim is to reach the final,” Phungwayo said when questioned about inflicting revenge.
Meanwhile, Siphesihle Ndlovu has been a marvel to watch for Maritzburg United this season with his vigilant displays and coach Fadlu Davids expressed his belief that opposition teams have placed a target on his midfield kingpin.
As a result, Davids wants match officials to protect Ndlovu, saying after this weekend's 1-1 stalemate against Cape Town City at Harry Gwala Stadium: “I think what we will do is that we will wait until they break his leg and we will say it is okay.
“We have to stop it now. It is not normal that every game he gets fouled 14 to 15 times. Are we going to kill our young talent like this?
“That’s where the game management from the match officials needs to come in, seeing it early and stamping their authority onto the game. We understand that there are rules and regulations but if you see and read the game you should find a way as an official to stop it, “ Davids explained.
Ndlovu has even earned an international call up for his consistent displays and was part of the team that won the Four Nations in Zambia last month. He is also the hot favourite to win the PSL Young Player of the Season Award next month.
The Team of Choice are third on the log but fluffed an opportunity to take command of the position after the draw with City.
“I think it is about us,” Davids elaborated.
“We are disappointed. We should have taken all the points. We don’t worry about Kaizer Chiefs and Stars (currently behind them on the log). It is about us, it is about our growth. We’ve got to improve in many area’s.
“We always talk about it as experience but it is all about maintaining your thinking for 90 minutes. We are not able to manage the game and bring it to our tempo or increase the tempo if we want to. It is hard lessons for these young players. We are learning and these lessons will help us to get in to the next level.”