SA players reach Euro cup finals

2010-05-01 00:00

IN an encouraging sign for Bafana Bafana as the 2010 host nation begin their final preparations for the World Cup, two South Africans are set to compete in major cup finals at the end of the European season, and a third is set to win a league title.

While Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena’s much-troubled Portsmouth have been relegated from the Premiership, they will at least contest the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley on May 15. Mokoena has had a difficult season, though he recovered his form late to play a starring role in Pompey’s semi-final win against Tottenham Hotspur.

On Thursday night Kagisho Dikgacoi’s Fulham reached the Europa League final with a 2-1 aggregate victory against Hamburg. The London team will play Atletico Madrid, who beat Liverpool on away goals, at the HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg on May 12.

Dikgacoi was on the bench against Hamburg, but did not play. The defensive midfielder was injured in February when he was just starting to break into the Fulham first team, though he made a return with a 90-minute run in a 2-1 Premier League defeat against Steven Pienaar’s Everton last weekend.

A third South African in line for silverware is striker Bernard Parker, whose FC Twente are on the verge of their first Dutch league title in their 45-year existence. Steve McLaren’s team are one point ahead of Ajax Amsterdam with a match to play.

Parker, too, has struggled for game time at Twente, but feels he has made a contribution to the team’s effort.

“I think I only made four starts ... but I came off the bench on more than 10 occasions and I feel that I played my part, and winning this league will mean a lot to me,” he told Kickoff.com.

“This is my first season at the club and I feel for someone who just arrived a few months ago. I have actually done well and will appreciate winning the league, knowing that I did play some part.”

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