Cup fi­nal his­tory

Mar­itzburg, Stars have veter­ans to count on

Sowetan - - Dipapadi - ■ By Sihle Nde­bele won 2-0 in the fi­nal of the Roth­mans Cup.

The strik­ing sim­i­lar­ity in the squads of Mar­itzburg United and Free State Stars is that both clubs boast ex­pe­ri­enced cen­tral de­fen­sive pair­ings who pos­sess lead­er­ship at­tributes. Mar­itzburg have Siyanda Xulu and Be­van Frans­man, while Stars pride them­selves on the combo of Paulus Masehe and Rooi Ma­hamutsa. One way or an­other, the vast knowl­edge these play­ers pos­sess will be put to the test when the two clubs bat­tle it out in the Ned­bank Cup fi­nal to be staged at the Cape Town Sta­dium to­mor­row (7pm). Stars cap­tain Masehe, 34, feels his ex­pe­ri­ence will come handy in their bid for the R7-mil­lion win­ner’s prize, adding that it’s in such mo­ments the teams need play­ers who have been around. “I think the ex­pe­ri­ence I have will be very im­por­tant in this en­counter. I have been try­ing to keep my team­mates calm. Even Ma­hamutsa is do­ing the same. It’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to make sure that the play­ers have a right mind­set,” said Masehe. He may be a sea­soned cam­paigner but the Stars skip­per is aware that at the pace Mar­itzburg play, they will need more than ex­pe­ri­ence.

“They are play­ing a very quick foot­ball. The lads like [Siph­e­sihle] Ndlovu and [Le­bo­hang] Maboe can be very speedy and tricky, but the plan is to just try and keep a close eye on them, ar­rive on the ball first,” he said.

“We also aim to use our mid­field to stop them from at­tack­ing.”

The vet­eran de­fender also feels win­ning the Ke Yona cup will go a long way in in­spir­ing the peo­ple of QwaQwa.

“It’s more than foot­ball for us. It’s our first fi­nal in al­most 19 years and our peo­ple want Free State Stars some­thing to draw in­spi­ra­tion from. We want to do it for the peo­ple of QwaQwa. It will be a big mo­ti­va­tion for them to see that in life you can defy the odds.” Mar­itzburg United Orig­i­nally founded in

1979 and re­vived in 2003, the Team of Choice are eye­ing their first tro­phy.

United have gen­er­ally strug­gled on the do­mes­tic scene.

Their coach, Fadlu Davids, won the

2006 Telkom KO with Silver Stars as a player, while de­fend­ers Be­van Frans­man and Siyanda Xulu (both for­mer Kaizer Chiefs play­ers) are the oth­ers who have played in a cup fi­nal be­fore. – Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

/ M UZ I NTOMBELA/BACK­PAGEPIX

Paulus Masehe wants to lift the cup for the peo­ple of QwaQwa.

/ANESH DEBIKY/GALLO IMAGES)

Mar­itzburg United cap­tain Be­van Frans­man will try to in­spire his team­mates to a vic­tory at the Cape Town Sta­dium.

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