Platinum Stars pair Mogakolodi Ngele and Kabelo Dambe will have a chance to claim a second major trophy in a space of four months. Their club defied the odds by beating Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 to reach the final of the Telkom Knockout Cup (TKO) where they will face Orlando Pirates.
The Zebras duo has already picked up silverware this season after their side claimed the MTN Top 8 trophy in a penalty shootout victory over Pirates on September 28. Both sides will renew their rivalry at the Mbombela Stadium next weekend (December 7). Dambe and Ngele were unused substitutes during the TKO semi-final victory this past weekend.
Ngele made a significant contribution to his side’s progress to the final; he scored during their 2-1 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarterfinal stage. Meanwhile, Dambe is yet to feature in the competition but he could earn a winner’s medal for being part of the club’s squad provided his team emerges victorious Pirates next weekend.
Dikwena, as the club is affectionately known, has underlined its trophy credentials by eliminating two giants of South African football, Sundowns and Chiefs. They have already beaten Pirates before and most local football pundits have stated that they have a psychological advantage over their TKO final opponents. The pundits believe that Pirates are under more pressure than their opponents and Dikwena could capitalise on that.
Ngele told Gazette Sport that they are not under pressure to perform as compared to their TKO final opponents. “We are not under pressure, Pirates are a big club with big expectations and they are overwhelming favourites in most people’s views. We approach every game with the same mentality, all opponents are given the same respect and that has helped us adopt a cautious approach in our games. That approach has helped us avoid being complacent and we have gone far in the competition as a result,” said the Zebras forward.
He noted that despite beating Pirates in the MTN 8 final the TKO final will be a different spectacle, “they have not won a trophy yet and they want the trophy as much as we do. Facing a wounded club is a challenge but we will be ready for them and we will approach the game like the ones before the final,” he concluded.
If omens are anything to go by, Platinum Stars will be encouraged by the fact that Pirates coach Roger De Sa has a bad record in cup finals. He has won only one final (2010 Nedbank Cup with Wits University) during his coaching career and lost on four occasions. In recent months, he lost the MTN 8 and CAF Champions League finals.