Cape Town and its known un­friend­li­ness to­wards South African football, was al­ways go­ing to be a strange choice for a cup fi­nal.

African Times - - Sports - VIS­UAL BUZZ SA

Then there is the se­ri­ous mat­ter of Satur­day’s Ned­bank Cup fi­nal be­tween Mar­itzburg United and Free State Stars at the Cape Town Sta­dium on Satur­day.

There is noth­ing wrong in mov­ing the cup fi­nal around the coun­try un­less Kaizer Chiefs, Or­lando Pi­rates and Mamelodi Sun­downs are the par­tic­i­pants.

In light of the das­tardly events that took place af­ter Free State Stars de­servedly got into the fi­nal af­ter beat­ing Kaizer Chiefs at the Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium, big games de­serve big sta­dium and more im­por­tantly, bet­ter se­cu­rity.

With tne fi­nal­ists be­ing from KwaZulu-Na­tal and the Free State re­spec­tively, crowd at­trac­tion is go­ing to be the tough­est part for or­gan­is­ers.

Cape Town’s mar­quee Pre­mier Soc­cer League game be­tween Ajax Cape Town and Chiefs was well at­tended but did not bring in the kind of crowd that tricky fix­ture nor­mally guar­an­tees.

While the lack of sta­dium eyes will for­ever be prob­lem­atic when it comes to the smaller teams, the qual­ity of the fi­nal­ists can­not be doubted at any stage.

Mar­itzburg United de­serve all the ac­co­lades that have come their way this sea­son un­der their young coach Fadlu Davids.

Their brand of football has been ex­cited and has de­liv­ered re­sults.

That is not some­thing that can al­ways be said about South African teams.

The way Mar­itzburg United started their sea­son has be­lied how they have fin­ished it.

How­ever, that also high­lights how im­por­tant it is to look at a sea­son from a marathon rather than a mid­dle dis­tance per­spec­tive.

Mar­itzburg United have fin­ished in the top eight for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive sea­son and beat league cham­pi­ons Mamelodi Sun­downs in two out of four en­coun­ters this sea­son.

That is sea­sonal pedi­gree that has to make an equally for­mi­da­ble Free State Stars stand up and take note of the team of choice.

Un­der the abra­sive but as­tute stew­ard­ship of Luc Ey­mael, Free State Stars have gone about their busi­ness in an un­ruf­fled and un­com­pro­mis­ing man­ner.

To­wards the end of 2017, Free State Stars were con­sid­ered to ti­tle con­tenders; a claim that earned more weight when they beat Or­lando Pi­rates at home.

The league marathon though caught up with them but they did enough through the sea­son to earn their top eight spot and fi­nal berth

What is also miss­ing in the rub­ble of the dam­age caused by Chiefs fans dur­ing the semi-fi­nal was the fact Chiefs were played off the park.

While teams raise them­selves for the Soweto chal­lenge, Free State Stars took the bull by the horns in that fix­ture. Those who did not know about Harris Tchillim­bou will know about him now. The same ap­plies with the likes of For­turne Makaringe, Siph­e­sihle Ndlovu and Le­bo­hang Maboe.

They have been at the heart of ev­ery­thing good done by Mar­itzburg United. Some­times football sur­prises with these un­her­alded cup fi­nal matches but such is the mys­tery of the beau­ti­ful game, these things have to be ex­pected.

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