Kaizer Chiefs' Bernard Parker shares some of his thoughts on what it will take to win the big final.
Bernard Parker, who’s spent almost nine seasons with Kaizer Chiefs, believes they’ll have to play with their hearts on the sleeves in the Nedbank Cup final against TS Galaxy.
It’s been almost four seasons since a trophy was won at Naturena, during which time they’ve had three coaches – Steve Komphela, Giovanni Solinas and now Ernst Middendorp.
However, the latter is one match away from preventing that barren spell continuing as Chiefs lock horns with National First Division side Galaxy at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday (7pm kick-off).
“The mood is good and everyone is looking forward to the weekend. I just wish and pray that the spirit that’s here will be transformed into the match,” Parker said.
“The only mentality that we need is to keep the right attitude and energy levels. We need to go out there and play with desire, passion, and most importantly, with our hearts. Tactics and all the other things don’t matter coming to this weekend.”
To show how eager the team are to end their trophy drought, they have focused on the cup competition while enduring their worst finish in the Premier Soccer League in almost 13 years. It was ironically under current coach Middendorp in the 2006/7 season that Chiefs also finished ninth.
But winning the Nedbank Cup will not only take Chiefs back into continental football through the Caf Confederations Cup, but not playing in the MTN8 competition next season might actually give them a fresh and positive start in the league. Chiefs, who have fallen from grace in the past three seasons, have failed to compete with arch-rivals Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.
“Being one of the senior players, I’ve seen it all,” Parker acknowledged. “I’ve won and broken records in that regard and now we are in the situation where we’ve had a big punch in the club’s history.
“There’s been a change in the team in terms of personnel and coaches but we just never seem to find the right momentum. We know what we are capable of and in some matches we got different results, but it’s the same players. Players need to realise more of what’s important.”
By winning the Cup on Saturday night, Chiefs will be hoping to restore their dignity, not only among their own supporters but with opposition fans too. Amakhosi have been mocked on social media and other platforms for the amount of time they spent languishing in seventh position on the PSL log before the wheels really came off and they finished ninth.
“It’s very important for us to (boost our morale). Everybody associated with this club knows the culture of bringing in trophies. This is the perfect opportunity for us to get a trophy,” Parker said.
“This is the game of our lives, the opportunity where we can get a trophy in terms of restoring the love and peace of our supporters.”