Fourth time unlucky for Bucs?

2014-05-11 15:00

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It would be unprecedented in local football: if Pirates lose to Bidvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup final at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, they could be forced to sing about their four Cup finals of emptiness.

Pirates have already been to three Cup finals this season. They lost out in both the MTN8 and the Telkom Knockout finals to Platinum Stars, and fell to Al Ahly of Egypt in the CAF Champions League.

The only pieces of silverware Bucs managed from that ill-fated trio of finals were silver medal albatrosses around their necks.

The Nedbank Cup now provides a silver lining in what has been a stormy season for Pirates. They simply have to win this

Cup if they are to shed their bridesmaids tag. This trophy will mark the end of an era for Pirates and could well herald a new beginning.

The 2011 Nedbank Cup was the last competition the Soweto giants won.

Surprisingly, the coach who marshalled the historic double and treble in 2010/11 and 2011/12, respectively, Dutch legend Ruud Krol, was shown the door soon afterwards. Since then, Pirates have had many near misses.

They must make good this time because the football gods do not usually gift teams so many opportunities to claim silverware in a single season. Another Cup final choke would not only serve as a marker of Pirates’ inability to perform when it matters most, but highlights instability within the club and their impotence as a title-winning force.

Scoring goals has been a real issue for the Sea Robbers. They will need to find the net against an enterprising Wits unit that embarrassed the PSL’s best defenders, Kaizer Chiefs, in the semifinal.

Wits will certainly not be pushovers. Under Gavin Hunt, the Students have been playing well and deserve their place in the final. And Hunt, who lost last season’s Nedbank Cup final to Chiefs while still at SuperSport United, will not want to lose again.

With captain Sibusiso Vilakazi and former Chiefs striker Sthembiso Ngcobo in superb form, Pirates might just go home empty-handed once again.

That would be a sad occasion for Pirates skipper Lucky Lekgwathi, who at the ripe age of 37 won’t have many more opportunities to hoist another trophy aloft.

At least Lekgwathi and Pirates don’t have to play Platinum Stars again.

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