Stars rewrite football history

2018-05-23 06:00

A fundless sponsor Free State Stars rewrote Nedbank Cup history in the at least on two-fronts when they won South Africa’s lucrative football trophy on Saturday (19/05).

Ea Lla Koto lifted the championship trophy after a hard-fought 1 – 0 victory over Maritzburg United.

The winning team’s efforts were rewarded with R7 million, while the runners-up received R2,5 million.

The final was played in the Cape Town Stadium in front of approximately 22 000 spectators.

Paulus Masehe, the victorious captain, went home R5 000 richer after he was named man of the match for his efforts in helping his team claim the prized cup.

“We owed it to ourselves to do everything we could to win the cup and reward ourselves and the management. We had a good season,” Masehe said.

Ea Lla Koto’s goal poacher Goodman Dlamini lived up to his name when he scored the all-important goal which saw the Bethlehem-based outfit lifts its second major trophy since its formation.

This was United’s maiden cup final, but the young coach ?Fadlu Davids’ best was not good enough.

Stars coach, the Belgian-born Luc Eymael, was overwhelmed with his team’s achievementthat has seen the glory days return to his current side and handsomely rewarded financially.

Stars are still in the market for financial partners.

On the historic fronts, Ea Lla Koto, owned by Mike Mokoena, under the current sponsor became the first club outside Gauteng to clinch this prestigious trophy. and equally so the first Free State team of the two that include Bloemfontein Celtic.

The six previous winners were all Gauteng-based.

Mamelodi Sundowns (2007-’08 and 2014-’15), Moroka Swallows (2008-’09), Bidvest Wits (2009-’10), Orlando Pirates (2010-’11 and 2013-’14), SuperSport United (2011-’12, 2015-’16 and 2016-’17) and Kaizer Chiefs (2012-’13) all ma­naged to lift the trophy before.

Stars, having won the Nedbank Cup, will become the first Free State team to compete in the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the administrative and controlling body for African football.

The Bethlehem-based club is one of the four clubs from South Africa to compete in CAF competitions. The other three teams are Sundowns, Pirates and Chiefs.

Bloemfontein Celtic was the first team outside Gauteng to win this cup in 1985, but it was then called the Mainstay Cup after its sponsor.

Phunya Sele Sele claimed the cup under the leadership of the late Dr. Petrus “Whitehead” Molemela.

“Saturday’s final proved yet again that the Nedbank Cup is still the cup of dreams,” said Tutu Skosana, Nedbank sponsorship football manager.

“Congratulations to Stars and unlucky to Maritzburg. We are excited with the performance of both teams in the final.

“They helped to realise the the two clubs which performance in the final, they proved crucial to thesponsor’s objective of provi­ding a platform for all teams across all ranks to compete with their peers.

“They also provided an opportunity for fans of all ages to come together and share in their passion.”

Stars defeated the favou­rites, Chiefs, by 2 – 0 to reach the final, while Maritzburg beat Sundowns by 3 – 1, respectively to reach this year’s final.

The last time that Stars managed to reach the final was in 1994, when it was known as the ’ first final in this cup was when it was called Bobsave Super Bowl.

Stars victorious captain Paulus Masehe walked home R5000 richer after he was voted man of the match for his performance that help his team to see off maiden finalist Maritzburg. The ?Fadlu Davids’ chargers best was not good enough to plot the prized cup coup against

Stars, led by Belgian-born coach Luc Eymael, who was overwhelmed with his team’s achievement. Ea Lla Koto’s concerted effort to win the elusive trophy was to reach three semi-finals.

Since then, Stars threw away their chances of reaching the final when they lost by 0 – 1 to Mpumalanga Black Aces in 2008, by 1 – 3 to Bidvest Wits in 2010 and by 2 – 4 to Orlando Pirates in 2016.

“The two clubs, Stars and Maritzburg fall in the league that proves this the cup of dreams having realise their dreams. Congratulations to Stars and unlucky to Maritzburg.

We owed it to ourselves to do everything we could to win the cup. – Paulus Masehe

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