Less fancied sides pack a TKO punch

This year’s Telkom Knockout (TKO) final, which sees SuperSport United take on Platinum Stars, will mark yet another contest not involving the “big three”: Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.

Defending champions Stars, who are hoping to emulate Chiefs in winning the tournament three times, lifted the inaugural trophy in 2006, when they were still known as Silver Stars.

Dikwena’s unlikely triumphs have set a trend of less-fancied teams making the final or emerging as champions since the telecommunications company took over as title sponsor eight years ago.

The final at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday has left the PSL and the sponsors with the uphill task of

convincing the fans to fill the 40?000-seater arena. The two clubs simply do not boast the kind of support that would see the game become a sellout.

This week, PSL chief executive Brand de Villiers conceded it would be a serious challenge for the league’s marketing department to woo fans.

But Telkom sponsorship manager Nakedi Chiloane said they had measures in place to motivate supporters to make their way to the game.

Chiloane said Telkom would be working in collaboration with the teams to market the game effectively and provide live entertainment on match day.

In addition, the sponsors will use the tried-and-tested lure of freebies.

“As the sponsor, we are not worried about having Platinum Stars play SuperSport United in the final. There will be free T-shirts, caps, SIM cards preloaded with airtime and hampers for schoolkids who turn out in their uniforms,” said Chiloane.

The expected presence of scholars is one of the reasons kick off has been moved earlier, from the evening to the afternoon.

Dikwena needed penalties to eliminate Chiefs in the quarterfinals and also dumped 2012 runners-up Sundowns out of the tournament via spot kicks in the semifinals.

Matsatsantsa a Pitori stunned Pirates 2-0 in the semis at Orlando Stadium, which was the scene of their 2-0 2012 Nedbank Cup final win over Sundowns.

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