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Cup final key battles


No love lost.

Nation Ndlovu of TS Galaxy during the 2019 Nedbank Cup semi final match between Golden Arrows and TS Galaxy at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, Durban on 20 April 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

THERE will be no love lost tomorrow when Kaizer Chiefs battle TS Galaxy for a spot in the Caf Confederation Cup at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban in the Nedbank Cup final at 7pm.

Both sides are desperate to put their hands on this cup for different reasons. Look, R7 million is at stake and then added to this there’s a place in the Caf Confederation Cup up for grabs.

Chiefs are searching for that elusive trophy seeing as they haven’t tasted success in four years and added to that they just finished out of the top eight when the league wrapped up.

Galaxy are searching for their maiden triumph. Unbelieveably they were formed just 10 months ago and are already competing in the final of Mzansi’s premier cup competition.

Having said that we have to ask who has the X-factor to come out on top? And to that end here are three key clashes to look forward to in this encounter.

Khama Billiat (Chiefs) vs
Ludwe Mpakumpaku (Galaxy)

Billiat and Mpakumpaku will play instrumental roles in deciding the Nedbank Cup final for their sides. Each has been a pillar of strength and source of hope for their respective sides heading into the final.

Zimbabwe-born Billiat can be menacing on his day. He is a match-winner if given space. The mercurial Billiat has a tendency of producing big moments in big matches. He enjoys pressure and loves the big stage. If there’s one man who can win this cup single-handedly for Amakhosi, it is Billiat.

At the other end goalkeeper Mpakumpaku will be responsible for keeping Billiat at bay. He has to be at his best by making crucial saves and marshalling his defence. And he has to read danger from a distance.

Nation Ndlovu (Galaxy) vs
Willard Katsande (Chiefs)

Nation Ndlovu is a player with immense talent. He is a naturally gifted and very intelligent footballer. Ndlovu is the main man in that Galaxy midfield that is made up of Sihle Nduli and Sizwe Mdlinzo. He plays on top of that diamond system, and he is the link between the midfield, wingers and forwards.

Ndlovu makes things happen for Galaxy and added to that ee is very stylish too. Katsande will have to keep a close eye on him otherwise Chiefs will find themselves in a huge spot of bother. Ndlovu is a good passer of the ball and most of his passes upfield.

Katsande has to be vigilant and keep his eye on this young man. Katsande has been consistent over the years in marshalling skilful players, and in most cases he has come up tops. The hard tackling Katsande will be required to do the donkey work again to help his side control the game.

Zakhele Lepasa (Galaxy) vs Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Chiefs)

Lepasa was the star of the show for Galaxy when they stunned Lamontville Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont in the semi-finals. He unleashed two rockets to beat Max Mbaeva of Abafana Bes’thende between the sticks. So, Chiefs can’t afford to give Lepasa acres of space because he will torment them. He is very pacey, skilful and boasts a physical presence and then he is also a good striker of the ball.

Chiefs’ Mphahlele for his part loves to storm forward, making overlapping runs, and yet he will have to be cautious tomorrow night. He can’t leave Lepasa unattended because he will be inviting trouble.

Minenhle Mkhize