'I wasn’t expecting the nomination even though I know I really worked hard. I deserve to be there and to win it."
Despite his nomination for the Nedbank Cup Most Promising Player of the Tournament Award, Terence Mashego believes that it will take a team effort to win SA’s premier club knockout competition.
Mashego’s team TS Galaxy, who were only established this season, achieved the improbable by reaching the final against Chiefs.
The sold-out contest might be the perfect platform for any youngster to showcase his talent. This tournament, has, after all, been the pioneering stage for players such as Aubrey Modiba (SuperSport United) and Lebohang Maboe who joined Mamelodi Sundowns following his impressive outing for Maritzburg United in last year’s edition.
“I wasn’t expecting the nomination even though I know I really worked hard. I deserve to be there and to win it,” Mashego said. “But at the end of the day the focus is on the team. I shouldn’t focus on the outside things but rather on my normal game.”
Mashego and company head into this encounter with the backing of Dan “Dance” Malesela – a man who has played and coached at the highest level. Back in 1988 Malesela won this same competition when it was launched as the BobSave Super Bowl with Orlando Pirates beating arch-rivals Chiefs in the final.
However, as coach, Malesela endured heartbreaks with defunct Garankuwa United and Chippa United in the 2013 and 2017 semi-finals of the competition.
In their march to the final, Galaxy haven’t met a true test of their character compared to what Chiefs will provide on Saturday. They beat Umvoti FC, Jomo Cosmos, Cape Umoya United and Golden Arrows to reach the final.
“I regard coach Dan as a philanthropist. He’s willing to share the football knowledge that he has He’s given us the courage to play football and not to be scared.” Mashego said. “He’s also told us about the danger of playing Chiefs, as he’s met them before while he was at Chippa. He has the strategies of beating Chiefs.”
Sure, Galaxy will be wearing the caps of the underdogs heading into this clash, but the mere fact that Chiefs have struggled against minnows in their first two rounds of the competition might serve as an advantage to Malesela’s troops. In the last-32 and 16 respectively, Chiefs needed extra time to defeat Tornado FC and The Magic FC.
Mashego says they’ll be encouraged by the sold-out crowd.
“From our very first game, we played in front of a huge crowd. Yes it is going to be a different atmosphere. I understand there’ll be pressure, but I think we can handle it.”