Shapa Makhosi shapa

2010-12-05 09:48

It was “13th time lucky” for Kaizer Chiefs as the undisputed cup kings annexed the Telkom Knockout and claimed what will be their 13th cheque as they head into the festive break.

Ironically, their successful cup defence was reminiscent of the November 13 meeting when they butchered their township rivals with a similar number of goals.

After being in the shadow of his fellow striker, Knowledge Musona, for a while, Sthembiso Ngcobo came short of a hat-trick last night as his brace – in the 11th and 64th minutes – helped Chiefs to an unprecedented 13th title in 15 finals since the competition’s inception in 1982.

Last night’s achievement added to their Telkom triumphs of 2007 and last year.

In all fairness, Pirates again failed to pitch last night.

It took their own undoing to set Chiefs to glory and their coach, Rudi Krol, aggravated his team’s suffering with his changes on the night – pulling off that battle-scarred  soldier, Andile Jali, and promising striker, Ezenwa Otorogu.

Chiefs took advantage of the collapsed Pirates’ game plan and passed the ball around as if they were engaged in a practise session.

This led to the third goal, when Siphiwe Tshabalala sealed the signature on the R4.25?million in the 72nd minute.

With big money at stake, the two coaches made their intentions clear by making sweeping changes to their line-ups.

Pirates made four changes, with defender Rooi Mahamutsa, midfielders Jali, Daine Klate and Dikgang Mabalane all recalled to the first 11 after they were left out of Bucs’ league encounter against Maritzburg United last Friday.

The exclusion of captain Lucky Lekgwathi, however, came as a shock.

Chiefs, on the other hand, welcomed five players back to the starting berth, notably coach Vladimir Vermezovic’s regular starters, Itumeleng Khune, Tshabalala and Reneilwe Letsholonyane.

Also, the inclusion at the back of Thomas Sweswe and Punch Masenamela spelt that Vermezovic meant his word when he tore into the central defenders that did duty in the 3-2 loss to rookies Vasco da Gama at the same venue last weekend.

Despite all the changes it was Chiefs who lived up to their favourites tag and made an instant impact on the epic clash – their second meeting in a cup final in eight weeks.

Even last night Amakhosi profited from yet another Pirates blunder when goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs made a heavy first touch from a back pass only to clear onto the path of Ngcobo, who gleefully converted just 11 minutes into the tie.

The goal set the tone for what became a one-sided opening stanza.

Chiefs again dominated in the middle, with Letsholonyane and Tinashe Nengomasha, the nucleus of the four-man midfield that the Bucs’ pair of Jali and Clifford Ngobeni could not do much to

The Buccaneers strung a few moves of their own together but it took a 37th minute corner to send the first wave of discomfort among the Amakhosi faithful.

On the rare occasion they surged close to Khune’s goals he responded with brave saves, notably when he tipped Jele’s piledriver in a spectacular fashion near the break.

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