Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp says his team will go all out to win the Nedbank Cup final against National First Division (NFD) side TS Galaxy on Saturday (19:00 kick off), not only because it would be a consolation for failing to finish inside the top eight in the league, but also because they are desperate to ‘destroy the dark cloud’ that is hanging over Naturena.
The German coach was making reference to the club’s trophy drought, having last won silverware in the 2014/2015 season when they won the Absa Premiership. Amakhosi have arguably their biggest chance of winning a trophy since then this weekend, as they face a team that is in a division below them, and one that has history going against them. No team from a division other than the top-tier has managed to win the ‘Ke Yona’ cup since its inception in 2008, and to add to that, Chiefs will, in all likelihood, have far greater support in the Moses Mabhida Stadium stands than their opponents.
Speaking at the club’s clubhouse on Wednesday, Middendorp said: “When you drive in here, then you know there’s a cloud hanging on top of Naturena [due to them] not winning anything in the past four years. I believe a lot of other clubs from the so-called ‘big three’, ‘big four’, ‘big five’ – without mentioning the names – would like to have the opportunity to play (in the) cup final on the weekend, and we managed it, we have done it so far, and we have now the big chance to win the second highest competitive trophy inside the country.”
Chiefs have had good fortune with being drawn against teams that compete in the lower divisions in this year’s Nedbank Cup, having also played against ABC Motsepe League side Magic FC in the round of 16, after having beaten another third-tier team, Tornado FC, in the first round. They did not have it all going their way against those teams, though, having needed an own goal to see off Tornado 1-0, before being taken to extra-time in their 3-0 win against Magic FC.
Middendorp also says he knows better than to think they will have it easy against Galaxy, which is coached by former Chippa United mentor Dan Malesela. “I don’t think it’s right to identify a team which made it happen to go to a final, to characterize this team as a small team, a team not to respect, I think that’s nonsense. They are in the final, they have done their work so far … we have observed, we prepare ourselves, and hopefully we will execute in the proper way on Saturday evening, to be successful in the end of the day.”