Wits overwhelm Usuthu to take Nedbank Cup at Soccer City opener

2010-05-24 00:00

THE opening of World Cup final venue Soccer City with Saturday’s Nedbank Cup final, won 3-0 by Wits University over AmaZulu, highlighted teething problems South Africa still has to iron out with less than three weeks to the tournament.

With two big games taking place within a few kilometres of each other, the other being the Super 14 semi-final between the Bulls and the Crusaders at Orlando Stadium, roads were clogged with around 120 000 people trying to get into Soweto. The traffic congestion delayed the kick-off of the Nedbank final by 30 minutes.

“I think it was extremely important that we had this event in the last few days before the World Cup so that these things can be changed and bettered,” PSL CEO Kjetil Siem said.

“One of the reasons for the congestion is that the city is doing final preparations on the main roads, like the N1, which is normally four or five lanes and in one section had one lane today.”

The stadium was opened by President Jacob Zuma.

While Sifiso Vilakazi scored two late breakaway goals for Wits in the 93rd and 94th minutes that inflated the winning margin, the Students were worthy of the result. The Johannesburg team opened the scoring through Brazilian substitute Fabricio Rodrigues in the 77t h minute and were the more resourceful, creative and structured of the two sides.

AmaZulu appeared to suffer from stage fright in front of the 71 200 crowd.

Usuthu coach Neil Tovey said: “I’m more disappointed in that I know what my players can do and how they came out and played, especially in the first half.

“I rattled the cage a bit at half-time and we came back better in the second half, where we had them under pressure for some moments and should have done better and gone ahead.”

Roger De Sa’s well organised Wits, who ended the PSL season in disappointing 10th after an excellent start to the season, notched up the club’s first trophy in 15 years.

“On an occasion like this, it had to happen that somebody had to fold with the pressure and the crowd,” De Sa said. “And I thought we faced up to it a bit better and started to play a bit.

“We were fortunate to score at the right time as well, with about 10 or 12 minutes left, and to hold out …”

The coaches were asked about the atmosphere in the 95 000-capacity stadium.

“It’s a wonderful stadium,” Tovey said. “The atmosphere seems to come from the top and right down on to the players.

“The field is very, very good; very quick because it’s still a young field. Sometimes the players’ passes would run out of the field so it takes some getting used to.”

De Sa said the super-modern venue has an international feel to it.

“When you walk out on the field, the feeling is you could be anywhere in the world. It doesn’t feel like Africa, to be honest. It could be in some soccer-crazy country.

“The crowd is very close to you. The only thing is with the vuvuzelas; you can’t hear anything out there. And I think that creates a problem — you can’t communicate. That could create a problem for overseas teams and people who are not used to it.”

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