Amabhakabhaka reign supreme

2011-05-21 18:37

Tired of being mocked as chokers for the better part of the eight-year spell since the last time they clinched the Absa Premiership title, Orlando Pirates eventually delivered the first championship since 2003 for their faithful starved of league glory.

Scenes reminiscent of the 2004/05 season were almost about to play themselves out at Pirates’ ancestral territory, but Isaac Chansa fired home with less than five minutes remaining to keep his side’s hopes of a treble alive, with the Nedbank Cup still to be contested on Saturday.

And goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa also pulled off brave saves in the closing minutes – particularly a close range cracker from Collins Mbesuma – to ensure that the replica of the 7kg and 66cm tall newly designed trophy was hoisted by Lucky Lekgwathi, who celebrated his 300th league appearance yesterday.

No one could have blamed the sea of Bucs faithful, bizarrely clad in red yesterday, for storming onto the pitch at the final whistle to embrace their heroes.

May 21 was predicted by some pensioner in the US as the end of the world and his ministry had put up “Judgment Day” billboards around the globe but that did not materialise as the Bucs followers saw another day and ushered in another historic moment in their clubs’ history.

Instead, the end, the agonising end, went to Ajax Cape Town, whose 2-2 draw against Maritzburg United meant their hope for a first ever league winners’ medal became another distant dream.

As the scores from yesterday’s full fixture programme were splashed across live television screens and into cyberspace, coach Rudi Krol’s side were the champions but the moment lasted for a mere three minutes after Bongani Ndulula had given Bucs the lead five minutes before the half-time break – and the score was still goalless in Cape Town.

The lad nicknamed “Drogba”, who despite playing in just his second start yesterday, proved with his work ethic and aggression upfront that Krol brought him at the right time of the season. He scored the equaliser that brought Bucs back in contention against Santos a fortnight ago and he gave Arrows rearguard a torrid time with his strong runs and aerial power yesterday.

On the opposite end, Collins Mbesuma sent in a wave of panic across the Orlando venue when he headed home the equaliser three minutes before half-time.

Pirates dominated in the opening quarter but they failed to wrap up their build-ups with goals.

Their early match pressure saw Arrows keeper Helton da Rocha called to action as early as the fifth minute when Ndulula pounced on a Tlou Segolela through ball but Da Rocha smothered the low ground effort.

In a follow-up attack, the Brazilian-born goalminder blocked Thulasizwe Mbuyane from close blank.

Krol’s game plan was almost derailed when Dikgang Mabalane quit 25 minutes into the tie with a groin strain.

The speedy midfielder was replaced by Mark Mayambela in a move that switched Segolela to the right flank.

Mayambela almost made an immediate impact when he came close on the half-hour mark.

But after a 2-0 win over Arrows in the first round, another win was inevitable as the visitors sat back and relied on sporadic counter-attacks.

While Arrows finished another season outside the top eight bracket, it was the Buccaneers who came out tops on “Judgment Day”.

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