Chippa prevail against game Callies
Chippa United are into their first ever cup final, riding their luck and taking a rare chance to edge yesterday’s Nedbank Cup semifinal against plucky Pretoria Callies at Lucas Moripe Stadium 1-0.
Siyabulela Gwambi, a long-time youth and reserve coach at Chippa, was taking charge of just his second top-flight match since yet another firing of Dan Malesela.
Defender Sandile Mthethwa’s 63rdminute strike saw the 31-year-old caretakercoach book himself and his relegation-battling Premiership team a place in the final, edging past Joel Masutha’s brave and determined GladAfrica Championship Callies.
In a competition in which the PSL’s headline teams have fallen by the wayside, Chippa face a final against either Sundowns or their Sunday opponents at Loftus Versfeld, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.
In a first half characterised by niggle and lack of rhythm, the First Division campaigners edged the chances.
The best opportunity for Chippa came when Thabiso Lebitso was put through early and seemed not to realise centreback Nathaniel Tladi had played him onside, hesitating and taking the ball away from goal.
Right-back Thabiso Mobi’s low cross found ex-Kaizer Chiefs winger William Twala, who ballooned an attempted strike.
Forward Joshua Sauls fed Twala, whose drive was stopped by Rashid Watenga. Chunky former SuperSport United striker Thabiso Nkoana beat offside and struck from a tight angle to force another stop from the Ugandan goalkeeper.
Chippa had a genuine let-off soon after the break. Callies midfielder Siyabonga Menziwa punted out of his own half for Nkoana to run onto, in space on the left. Watenga prematurely charged out of his box and was beaten, but Nkoana miscued his cross with
Chippa face a final against Sundowns or Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila
Sauls lurking, to find only the grateful arms of Watenga, recovering his position.
With the plucky lower-tier campaigners unable to take their chances, the fear from their perspective would always be that the PSL team would then make them pay for their wastefulness.
Chippa did, capitalising on an almost inevitable defensive error. Left-back Riaan Hanamub’s lobbed cross from deep was knocked down by big Cameroonian substitute Beinvenu Eva Nga, as Callies centreback Aupa Moeketsi miscued an attempted clearance facing his own goal into the path of opposite central defender Mthethwa, who volleyed past keeper Itumeleng Lesu.
Chippa were perhaps fortunate when Watenga again got himself in trouble outside his area, fouling Pogiso Mahlangu, referee Michael Mosemeng opting to book him.