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History beckons

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Abafana Bes’thende brushed aside the Brazilians 3-2 in a league at the same venue two weeks ago and there is no doubt that they will be out to make it a double over the defending league champions

STEVE Komphela and Ernst Middendorp have unfinished business at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium and that’s why it is important for them to reach the Telkom Knockout final.

The pair might meet each other in the final at the iconic 2010 Fifa World Cup venue on December 14 but they have to first get over their respective opponents in the semi-finals this weekend.

Komphela will lead his troops against Mamelodi Sundowns at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick-off) in what promises to be a humdinger of a match.

Abafana Bes’thende brushed aside the Brazilians 3-2 in a league at the same venue two weeks ago and there is no doubt that they will be out to make it a double over the defending league champions.

Komphela is still searching for his maiden trophy in top-flight football despite reaching three cup finals at club level. In his first head coaching job with Manning Rangers in 2004, he was the beaten finalist in the Absa Cup final against Moroka Swallows (3-1).

Eleven years later Komphela reached his second cup final during his tenure with Amakhosi. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for Komphela as he had to settle for second best in the MTN8 final against Ajax Cape Town in Port Elizabeth.

A few months after securing his second final berth, Komphela was in his third. Again, it was the same story but a different script. Chiefs succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final at Moses Mabhida.

The Durban venue is the stadium at which Komphela handed in his resignation after Amakhosi were bundled out of the Nedbank Cup semi-finals by Free State Stars two seasons ago. It was an embarrassing moment for Komphela and Amakhosi as the fans stormed the pitch and vandalised the stadium facilities to express their unhappiness about the team’s result on the day.

Now Komphela has an opportunity to go back to Mabhida and create happy memories by lifting his maiden silverware on the ground that once left him embarrassed. He can rewrite history next month at Mabhida, while Middendorp will be also hoping to write his own history at Mabhida.

Chiefs were humiliated in the Nedbank Cup final in May and that happened under his leadership. Amakhosi became the first team in the history of football in South Africa to be beaten by a National First Division outfit in a major final. They were defeated by TS Galaxy 1-0 thanks to Zakhele Lepasa’s solitary strike in the dying minutes of the match.

The German was lucky to survive the chop but management showed faith in his ability and he has an opportunity to repay them for believing in him.

However, Middendorp has to first beat his former side Maritzburg United at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday (3pm) before he can think about the final.

Mabhida is waiting for both Middendorp and Komphela, but opposition coaches Eric Tinkler and Pitso Mosimane will have plenty of say in their destiny.