United e ye elusive cup glory
SuperSport face defending champs Stars in Telkom Knockout final today
JOHANNESBURG — SuperSport United will look to make it “third time lucky” in today’s Telkom Knockout final against defending champions Platinum St ars in So weto.
United have finished the competition as runnersup on two occasions, in the successive years of 2004 and 2005, but have never lifted the League Cup in any of it s guise s.
An appear ance in the final look ed highly unlik ely at the s tart of SuperSport’s season under C avin J ohnson.
United s tuttered to a single vict ory in five games before Johnson was shown the door.
In stepped Gordon Igesund, who is attempting to lift his fir st trophy with his new team just three months into the demanding job . “R egardless of w ho you’re coaching, you want to win tr ophies,” Igesund said ahead of today’s final at Or lando St adium.
“Winning a league championship is the ultimate. It’s the toughest of all. But a cup competition gives an opportunity to everybody because it’s three or four games and y ou’re int o the final.
“It’s hugely important to win silverware. It makes the supporters and the club very happy. It’s all about winning things and both teams have this opportunity o ver the w eekend.”
The f ormer national c oach has steered SuperSport p ast F ree St ate Stars, Wits and Orlando Pirates on the way to seven out of nine victories in all matches since taking over in September.
Matsatsantsa face a Stars outfit who have become used to being considered outsiders, de spite being the curr ent holders.
Last season, Dikwena lifted both the MTN8 and Knockout titles, both times against Orlando Pirates, when a win for Allan Freese’s team was considered improbable.
Stars have already made their intentions clear this season, beating Chippa United, Chief s and M amelodi Sundowns on their w ay t o the final.
The Rustenburg outfit f aced an unbeaten Chiefs side in the second round, eliminating the runa way Amakhosi train on penaltie s, bef ore ous ting defending P remiership champions Sundowns, c ourtesy of Eleaz ar R odgers’ second half goal against his former employers.
“If you beat K aizer Chiefs and Ma melodi Sundowns on the way to reaching the final, y ou’ve done a good job,” Igesund said of Stars’ strong performances.
“We have a lot of r espect f or Allan and his team. We know they will be very competitive and if w e w ant t o beat them, we’re going to have to be at our best on the da y.”
Freese will look to deploy Rodgers in side the opposition’ s ar ea much the same as he did ag ainst Sundo wns.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit to score goals,” Freese, a man of efw words, said.
“I’m happ y that Eleaz ar has been scoring a g oal her e and ther e.
“It’ll be good for us to defend the trophy.”
The striker scored his first ever Pre miership hattrick las t weekend for an impressive fourgoal tally from his last two games, making the f ormer Santos attacker the man to watch in the Dikwena t eam.
On the SuperSport side, Dove Wome poses the biggest threat going forward. The striker, currently on loan from Sundowns, has net ted se ven g oals in 1 3 games f or I gesund’s t eam. — S apa.