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Do or die for Chiefs

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Chiefs can’t afford to lose against TS Galaxy.

Ernst Middendorp. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

KAIZER Chiefs can’t afford to lose against TS Galaxy at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday when the much-anticipated Nedbank Cup final kicks off at 7pm.

Amakhosi have endured turbulent times this season and are yet to achieve success.

The Glamour Boys missed out on the MTN8, the Telkom Knockout and the Absa Premiership title. Their only source of hope for any silverware is now with them winning the Nedbank Cup.

Chiefs suffered further heartbreak this past weekend when they failed to finish in the top 8 after they were defeated by Chippa United in Port Elizabeth.

This was only the third time in their history that they have failed to finish in the top 8, which means that Chiefs won’t be a part of the MTN8 next season. This, of course, makes Saturday’s match even more important for Chiefs; the Nedbank Cup is the only way that they can possibly salvage something out of what has been a nightmare season.

Chiefs have endured torrid times in the past four years, having not tasted glory in that entire period. Amakhosi’s last piece of silverware was lifted back in 2015 when they won the Absa Premiership under the tenure of Stuart Baxter.

Following that high, they succumbed to defeats against Ajax Cape Town and Mamelodi Sundowns in the finals of the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout respectively after Steve Komphela took over at Naturena.

Then last year, Komphela was forced to resign after they were knocked out of the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup by Free State Stars, and the fans at the Moses Mabhida Stadium went on the rampage. The Amakhosi faithful invaded the pitch and vandalised the stadium facilities.

Durban used to be their happy hunting ground for the Naturena team, but they have struggled there in the past few seasons, and the cloud of the pitch invasion is a dark chapter for the team.

And if one looks back at their history at Moses Mabhida Stadium there are very few reasons to smile. Chiefs also lost to Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final in 2014 in Durban.

Meanwhile, their opponents on Saturday, TS Galaxy want to put their name into the history books. No team from the National First Division (NFD) have ever reigned supreme in the Nedbank Cup, but Galaxy are looking to have their name engraved on the Cup.

The Mpumalanga-based side have been the surprise package of the tournament and will be reaching for glory on Saturday. Coach Dan Malesela is looking for his maiden triumph in top flight football while Chiefs’ Ernst Middendorp is on the verge of ending his own and his team’s trophy drought. The German mentor hasn’t won a cup in 13 years.

At stake on Saturday is the fact that the winning team will pocket R7 million and qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup.