Pirates win Telkom Charity Cup

4 August 2008

Orlando Pirates were crowned 2008 Telkom Charity Cup winners on the weekend after they beat traditional rivals Kaizer Chiefs by a goal to nil in the final at the Mmabatho Stadium in Mafikeng.

The Buccaneers had reached the title-deciding contest with a 4-2 win over Platinum Stars from the penalty spot after the side had finished level at 2-2 after regulation time. Teko Modise and Excellent Walaza netted for Pirates, while Simba Marumo struck twice for Stars.

Chiefs also needed spot kicks to get by Mamelodi Sundowns in their semi-final after their showdown had resulted in a 1-1 stalemate. Gerald Sibeko netted for the Amakhosi, and Surprise Moriri replied for the Brazilians.

Risk

During the recent Vodacom Challenge, Pirates’ coach Rudi Krol had taken a risk that didn’t come off when he played a side regarded as a second-string line-up against Manchester United. In the weekend’s Telkom Charity Cup, the team he selected for the final featured nine changes from the one that played earlier in thye day. This time it worked out for him.

Krol’s charges started out strongly and put Chiefs under early pressure. Thembile Kanono made a nuisance of himself on the attack and with just over a quarter-of-an-hour played he was rewarded.

Chiefs failed to clear a cross into their penalty area and when the ball fell loose Kanono ran back from the goalbox and swivelled and shot in one movement. His low strike beat Itumeleng Khune in the Chiefs’ goal and put the Sea Robbers into the lead.

Shaky lead

Pirates’ lead looked shaky, however, when Jose Torrealba nearly scored with an outrageous shot. After a long clearance, he ran onto the bouncing ball and struck a first-time shot from far out on the right across the face of goal and past goalie Moneeb Josephs. It clipped the post before rebounding away from the goal.

Five minutes before the break Chiefs had a good shout for a penalty. Mandla Masango raced onto a through ball and as he entered the box was cut down by Benson Mhlongo. It looked like a clear cut penalty but, unfortunately for the Amakhosi, referee Jonas Nhlapo didn’t agree.

Pirates were lucky to get away with it and Chiefs’ coach Muhsin Ertugral expressed his unhappiness by holding both arms in supplication up to the heavens and yelling out his displeasure.

Chiefs continued to push for an equaliser, but a volley by Tinashe Nengomasha was well dealt with by Josephs.

Second half

After the break, Ertugral’s charges continued to push for a goal to level the game and while there was plenty and huff and puff about their efforts, they didn’t threaten much.

After the exertions of having played a game each earlier in the day, both coaches rang the changes as the contest neared its conclusion.

Venezuelan striker Torrealba came close to snatching a late equaliser when he headed on a corner towards the goal. Josephs, though, acted with cat-like reflexes to palm the ball over the top of the net and finally end Chiefs’ challenge.

It was a welcome victory for Bucs’ coach Rudi Krol, whose side had fallen 2-0 to Chiefs in the Vodacom Challenge. Not only did he taste victory over Chiefs, but the win also came with some silverware.

Optimism

The performances of both Chiefs and Pirates during the Vodacom Challenge and the Telkom Charity Cup will have shown fans of both teams enough to raise their hopes for the upcoming PSL season. They would rather forget the 2007/08 season after Chiefs finished sixth and Pirates eighth and there was enough on display to persuade them that the fortunes of their teams will be different.

The new season, though, promises to be a very interesting, hard-fought affair. Big-spending Sundowns, fourth in 2007/08, should mount a far stronger challenge, while SuperSport United, Ajax Cape Town, and Santos, the top three teams, will want to maintain those positions at the very least.

Something will have to give. Not every club will be able to match its ambitions. It promises to be an intriguing PSL season.

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