JOHANNESBURG – They may not have had the open-top bus as promised, but Baroka FC went ahead with their Telkom Knockout success celebrations on Monday.
The Limpopo outfit, the first side from the province to ever win an elite league title, took the trophy to the royal house of Ga-Mphahlele, where they were celebrated like the kings they are.
And coach Wedson Nyirenda and captain Mduduzi Mdantsane left the village inspired to work even harder to achieve even more, so they can make the community more proud of them.
“I think this lifts the name and status of the club to another level. You feel a sense of belonging to the community, you feel appreciated for what you have done,” Nyirenda said as they handed the trophy to the Queen of Ga-Mphahlele.
“The players will grow and start at a higher level, realising that when they do good the community shares it with them. This (celebration) signifies a lot of respect for the team and urges us to give even more.”
His captain Mdantsane was in agreement: “I am very happy, it is a great feeling to be here, to be a part of history. As a leader, you dream of lifting trophies for the team and I have done that.
“I am very happy that we are here to meet the queen and show her the trophy, the open-top bus is not a big issue.”
After beating Orlando Pirates in the final, Baroka were meant to go on a trophy tour in Polokwane, and the surrounding townships and villages to thank their supporters.
But according to provincial MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Thandi Moraka, Telkom failed to deliver the open bus – leaving the club to only make the trip to Seleteng, Ga-Mphahlele, the club’s base.
They had gone there ahead of the match to ask the queen mother for blessings.
“We are delighted as a province to have our team bring the trophy to the province. Baroka have made history. Telkom have committed to ensuring the tour happens as befitting of the champions,” Moraka said.
Club owner Khurishi Mphahele said it was only logical that they returned to the royal house to show off the trophy.
“(As a club) we held our very first meeting in that rondavel, and it is only right that we came back and brought the trophy. We are very happy that we brought a trophy to this very dry (in terms of football success) province of Limpopo.”
Baroka’s cup success will, however, mean little should the club not move away from the relegation zone where they find themselves.
They play their last match of the year away to Maritzburg United at the weekend, and will need to win to keep the axe away.@Tshiliboy