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

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI at FNB Sta­dium ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

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.

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

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

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