Sunday Times

It’s party time for Limpopo’s Tshakhuma

Thohoyando­u’s TTM add a trophy to their storybook season


TTM (1) 1 Chippa United 0

GOALS: TTM — Ndabayithe­hthwa Ndlondlo (27m)

● Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhand­ila (TTM) will not exist by that name after the 2020-21 season, but before that title disappears the Limpopo side have lifted a trophy.

TTM dominated Chippa United by more than last night’s 1-0 Nedbank Cup final winning score. Ndabayithe­thwa Ndlondlo’s 27th-minute strike separated the teams on the scoreboard, but on the Free State Stadium pitch the gap was greater.

TTM’s new owner, Abram Sello, who took over mid-season from Lawrence Mulaudzi, who bought Bidvest Wits, has said he will rename the side in the next campaign. But the fascinatin­g story of TTM in 2020-21 — still to incorporat­e a league relegation battle — added another chapter last night.

Exciting 25-year-old midfield attacker Ndlondlo’s quick feet, workrate in running and intelligen­t linking might see him mentioned in the player of the tournament awards.

TTM coach Dylan Kerr interchang­ed Ndlondlo with schemer Celimpilo Ngema from the midfield role where he impressed greatly

Ndlondlo’s strike separated the teams but on the pitch the gap was greater.

in Tuesday’s 2-1 league win over Kaizer Chiefs, to playing behind striker Lerato Lamola. Apart from the goal, Ndlondlo was the influentia­l cog in Tshakuma’s attack again. Both were playing in their first cup final. Vladislav Heric’s Chippa were organised, and their desire to put in effort was evident. They lacked the ingenuity, game plan and confidence on the ball of Tshakuma, who were as motivated but more composed.

The opening half was played at a tremendous pace, with especially keyed-up TTM coming out with better purpose.

The opening 20 minutes were fast but cagey. But Tshakuma’s industriou­sness, Thabo Mnyamane on the right and Ndlondlo in the middle particular­ly making the running, paid off with a goal.

Chippa’s big Burundian centreback Frederic Nsabiyumva attempted a clearance at a pass across the face of his box with a scissor-kick, but miscued to Ngema. The midfielder teed up Ndlondlo, 30m out, whose drive took a deflection off the head of the unfortunat­e Nsabiyumva, trying to block, to beat wrong-footed goalkeeper Ian Watenga.

Chippa’s Thabiso Lebitso beat two players in the middle and then Ngema tripped to allow the winger through on the right to blast wide. But it had been a tamer opening half for the Chilli Boys.

TTM had a chance for a safety goal moments after the break, Thabo Rakhale advancing on the left and side-footing inside to Lamola, who shot tamely at Watenga.

A difficult backpass to Watenga put the Ugandan keeper under pressure. He slipped on his clearance, the ball landing at the feet of Myamane to attempt a chip that flew centimetre­s over.

TTM tired later on. Chippa, who last played three days earlier, in their 1-0 home win over Stellenbos­ch FC on Saturday, had the better lungs.

But Tshakuma had been more determined to get their hands on that piece of silverware, and still managed a shot wide from substitute Brandon Theron and cracking strike by Mnyamane to force Watenga’s stop.

 ?? Picture: BackpagePi­x ?? Tshakhuma FC celebrate lifting the 2021 Nedbank Cup at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfonte­in last night.
Picture: BackpagePi­x Tshakhuma FC celebrate lifting the 2021 Nedbank Cup at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfonte­in last night.

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