CHIEFS STILL RULE
Amid tragedy, Amakhosi claim bragging rights as they bag third Carling Cup. On the other side, the Bucs still seem to be drowning
There was nothing friendly about this Carling Black Label Champion Cup, with both teams going for it from the onset. Spurred on by their respective supporters, the players gave nothing away as they wanted the early bragging rights. Sadly, it came at a heavy price for supporters who lost their lives and others who suffered serious injuries during a stampede. Two people were confirmed dead when supporters forced their way into FNB Stadium in Soweto after kick-off.
That the game was allowed to continue after the sad news was disrespectful and callous, to say the least.
But after all was said and done, Chiefs claimed their third Carling Cup and showed signs of good things to come in the new season.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the Buccaneers.
If this is how Pirates are going to play next season, they may as well forget about winning any silverware. They continued where they left off last season – poor display with no organisation and cohesion, which has been their undoing recently.
They need to act and do so fast if they are to arrest their decline. While they were disorganised at the back, they also offered nothing going forward. It looks like they have not learnt anything from their below-par performances last season. A lot still has to happen and they need a few more players, particularly at the back, if they are to do well in the season to come. But, at this rate, they are already destined for the bottom.
They showed signs of life and played much better in the second half after making wholesale changes of not less than five players. One of the substitutes, Bernard Morrison, brought out a brilliant save from Itumeleng Khune and another one as Ayanda Nkosi hit the upright from the rebounce. But there are still question marks about their prospects in the new season.
On the other hand, Chiefs played like a well-oiled machine as they showed great determination and willingness to win. It is still early, though, but the signs are good for Steve Komphela’s side as he has something to work with. Bernard Parker’s goal in the 10th minute after good combination play with Gustavo Páez separated the teams at the break. It could have been 3-0 had Parker’s attempt and Lorenzo Gordinho’s header not both hit the bar as they showed their dominance.
But, in the end, it did not matter much as Chiefs closed the gap on Pirates with their third victory in seven outings in this cup.
Even news of supporters dying and injured would not have dampened the spirits inside the stadium.
As usual, supporters arrived late in the game and this resulted in many of them trying to force their way into the venue as the game had already started. Inside the stadium, the atmosphere was electrifying as the supporters enjoyed themselves and wanted more, oblivious to what had happened. This is what South African football can do without – supporters should be educated and encouraged to arrive early at matches.
Those who managed to watch the game were entertained throughout and would have been happy with the proceedings on the field of play.
But Pirates supporters should be asking themselves difficult questions about the future, particularly in their 80th anniversary.
TUSSLE Chiefs’ Gustavo Páez and Bucs’ Oupa Manyisa in a tussle for the ball during yesterday’s Carling Black Label Champion Cup match at FNB Stadium