Platinum Stars scoop it

2013-09-29 08:56

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Platinum Stars win their second Cup triumph since the club’s promotion to the elite league in 2003

Allan Freese rose from the shadows of being a long-standing assistant coach to guide an unfancied Platinum Stars to their second Cup triumph since the club’s promotion to the elite league in 2003.

The sibling of legendary Kaizer Chiefs defender Howard “The Rock” Freese, Allan entered local football folklore at the expense of the Pirates side that seemingly succumbed to the pressure of having being involved in a gruelling domestic and continental programme over the past four weeks.

The historic triumph for the unfashionable Stars blotted Pirates coach Roger de Sa’s latest bid to deliver his first silverware since he joined Bucs in September last year.

The Buccaneers last night came up against a resilient Dikwena, who thrived on a spine formed by erstwhile Pirates players Benson Mhlongo in defence, Patrick Malokase in midfield and Siphelele Mthembu in the attack.

On the other hand, De Sa’s desperate bid for results saw him being boosted by the miraculous return of midfielder Andile Jali, who was ruled out for a season following a shoulder injury.

Pirates’ starting team had Lehlohonolo Masalesa, but Jali emerged as the man to anchor Oupa Manyisa in the belly of the park.

Stars took the advantage of the Pirates side that is bruised from the five matches – across the domestic and continental front – that they played in a space of four weeks prior to the game last night.

And the energy-sipping schedule is not over yet for the Buccaneers as they will leave Durban carrying weary legs after 120 minutes of play last night, to shape up for the first leg of the CAF Champions League against Espérance of Tunisia on Saturday.

This will be followed by a Telkom Knockout last-16 fixture against Mpumalanga Black Aces on October 8 with some catch-up to do in the Premiership.

Against PlatinumStars, ironically the side that kick-started De Sa’s tenure at Pirates last season, the Soweto giants had their work cut out by an opponent who thrived on the spine made up of Mhlongo, Malokase and Mthembu.

It was thanks to the blend of such experience and youth that steered Dikwena to their third Cup final appearance since they gained promotion in 2003.

Stars’ Malawian international Robert Ng’ambi – undoubtedly MTN8 Cup best player – once again proved his prowess as his opening goal sent him to the top of the competition’s leading scorers chart with four strikes.

While history will tell of the team that won this tournament, it should be documented somewhere that this year’s final pitted home-grown coaches against one another and this simply spells that Mzansi football won.

Last night’s final was the fourth of six MTN8 editions that were decided on penalties.

»?How they lined up:

Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Mahamutsa, Sangweni, Phungwayo (Matlaba 40th), Klate (Mabena 81st), Jali, Manyisa, Segolela (Molangoane 71st), Erasmus, Bacela. Unused subs: Mhlongo (goalkeeper), Masalesa, Ngoma, Gabuza

Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Mhlongo, Gumede, Ngwepe, Msomi (Botes 85th), Malokase (Ngele 74th), Sarr, Tshabalala, Ng’ambi, Mthembu (Chinyama 98th). Unused subs: Dambe (goalkeeper), Tshikovhi, Semenya, Mpeta

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