Stars want to clinch cup

2018-05-16 06:00

Free State Stars are looking to end their 24-years trophyless spell by winning the presti­gious Nedbank Cup.

This will be realised if they overcome tough opponents Maritzburg United in an intriguing final to be played in the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (19/05).

Both United and Ea Lla Koto reached the final after outclassing favourites and previous champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, by 3 – 1 and Kaizer Chiefs, by 2 – 0, respectively.

United make their debut in this cup final and Stars their second appearance with the first in 1994.

Stars gave away the golden chance to lift the cup when they lost by 1 – 0 to defunct Vaal Professionals in the final 24 years ago.

Reaching this year’s final see Ea Lla Koto on the same path of 1994, memorably winning the Coca-Cola Cup after a hard-fought with a 3 – 2 victory over Cape Town Hellenic.

Reaching this year’s Nedbank Cup is a golden opportunity for the present crop of Stars players to write their own history, former player and now assistant coach David “Van Rijin” Vilakazi believes.

He was part of the club’s golden generation that plotted the 1994 cup coup.

Among the players of that era were Bunene Ngaduane, John Tlale, Meshack “Maradona” Tsotetsi, Serame “Rhee” Letsoaka (captain) Edward “Magic” Salomane, Sam Banda, John Tlale, Joseph “Professor” Maphutse, Elvis Manana and Robson Muchichwa. The coach was the late Zimbabwean Peter Nyama. Current Stars coach Luc Eymael will become the second coach to help the club win a major cup after Nyama.

“Ability is very important. This includes the execution of a game plan, play as a team and minimise mistakes. Decision-making is critical. The costly mistake we made in the Vaal final was that we missed the ball and from that blunder the opponent Robson Seakamela capitalised to score the winning goal for his team, Professionals, and we returned home with silver instead of gold and a trophy,” he said.

Vilakazi said maintaining victory over Chiefs in the semi-final was another test of character going into Saturday’s historic cup final.

“Against Chiefs the players utilised every opportunity to score goals, create scoring chances and minimise mistakes. This is critical going into the final – maintain temperament and cohesion,” said Vilakazi.

Ea Lla Koto rely on great form and workaholic captain Paulus Masehe for inspiration in the battle to clinch the coveted trophy.

If Stars win, Masehe will become the second captain to lead the team to a historic major cup win after Letsoaka, who led the golden generation of 1994.

Leading Ea Lla Koto to cup victory will be sentimental for Masehe who is toying with the idea to go into retirement.

The veteran midfielder is the longest serving member of Ea Lla Koto.


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