For a four-year-old team which still trains on a modest pitch in the dusty streets of Ga-Mphahlele village outside Polokwane in Limpopo, Baroka FC’s success on the field has understandably turned them into the pride of the community.
Now locals expect them to see off Kaizer Chiefs and march into the semifinal of the Nedbank Cup.
Kgaogelo Takalo (28), an ardent Baroka supporter, says the fact that the team reached the quarterfinals means it can win the R6-million prize and even be promoted to the National First Division.
“We know that Chiefs have got shortcomings when they play teams from lower divisions. We believe we will beat them like we did against Swallows,” Takalo says.
Gafela Mphahlele (29) says Amakhosi stand no chance against Baroka because they know very little about the team.
“Chiefs don’t know anything about Baroka. Baroka knows everything about Chiefs because we always see them on TV. We are going to Peter Mokaba in large numbers to witness Baroka slaughtering Chiefs,” promised Mphahlele.
He predicted that Baroka would beat Chiefs 2-1 and go on to meet Free State Stars in the final. But for other locals, Baroka brings pride and is a beacon of hope for the impoverished community.
Makopi Mphahlele (21) wants Baroka to humiliate Chiefs and “put Ga-Mphahlele on the map, win the play-offs and be promoted to the first division”.
She added: “ I wish some of the local players from Baroka could get offers from other PSL teams like Pirates.”
Asked if that would not harm Baroka’s chances of advancing to the PSL, Makopi said the team boasted enough talent within its junior teams.
Mampedi Ntsoane (56) believes Chiefs stand no chance against Baroka.
“I am proud of this team because it originates from Ga-Mphahlele and I live here. Baroka are a rural team and therefore the source of our pride,” he says.
Gafela Mphahlele also likes Baroka because the team has brought professional football closer to home.
Takalo wishes the side will gain promotion to the PSL so that it helps create jobs in the area.
For now, the community is united in its dream: to beat Chiefs and lift the trophy and eventually play in the PSL.