After outclassing Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN-8 semi-final, Orlando Pirates will host Moroka Swallows away from home, the Dube Birds of Soweto, in yet another Soweto derby to be played far away from Soweto, at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, on Saturday, 20:15 hours, for a winners’ cheque of R8 million. Swallows players will pocket half the amount to split amongst themselves if they win. If you like cash, go join Moroka Swallows before Saturday.
Ajax Cape Town coach once claimed Ruud Krol is a layman not known in Holland, and that he was surprised he is considered a coach in South Africa. For that reason, he claimed Ajax were going to beat Orlando Pirates. He lost nicely. Rainer Zobel of Moroka Swallows wants to interest me even more. He declared he had spotted gaps in Sea Robbers’ defence and other departments. Why can’t he just Follow the Birds and not the Ghosts?
Krol remained calculative without committing much despite his hidden excitement of reaching the finals. He was more than modest and went on to stroke Swallows’ ego by praising their teamwork and fighting spirit. He surprised me by leaving out Teko Modise from the team that beat Chiefs. It may however be his best bet against the Birds. Teko has been way below his standards for over 2 years now. Modise was Africa’s hottest property before the 2009 Confed Cup, but fared badly then and his form spiralled down since, until it hit the floor on Sunday.
The encounter will be a free-flowing affair, as Pirates will feel the favourites while Swallows will surely be underdogs. A Chiefs-Pirates final is usually too boring as both teams size each other for ever. Zobel surely knows something about football that I do not. He was not at liberty to say what weaknesses he saw because he may alert Krol. Personally, I have never seen or heard of a football secret that lasts forever. I am a non-believer of its existence. When the time comes, we all watch the same match and make the tactical changes as per our preparations and developments of the match.
The Birds will call upon the services of Siyabonga Bhele Nomvethe who found his scoring touch against Ajax in the other semi-final. The Buccaneers who are driven by biggest football cash prize in Africa will pin their hopes on Katlego Mashego who came in from injury with the goal Amakhosi love to hate and Tlou Segolela, whose pace reminds one of Theo Walcott. My genuine feeling is how hard Pirates will rock the boat, the team from Dube will try to fly away with the money. They will be driven by the underdog tag, which relieves them of all pressure.
Diane Klate, Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Dikgang Mabalane will complement the midfield efforts of Isaac Chansa. The Ghosts will do well to follow the progress of the Birds closely as Swallows know Cup final glory, after they won the Nedbank Cup in 2009. They may have to console themselves with a losers’ cheque and a mere R800 000 appearance fee together with the other six teams in the top eight competition. Tickets are at all Computicket/Shoprite outlets at a cost of R60, R40 and R10 for juveniles.
The Ghosts or the Birds?