Today Baroka FC is as much a household name as Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates are, thanks to the good intentions of the people at the bank
Is it not amazing what a good coach can do for a little-known team with a big heart that aspires to compete with the big boys of South Africa’s Premier Soccer League as an equal?
You might have guessed that we are here focused on the exploits of none other than Dan Malesela – the high achieving coach of Cape Town team TS Galaxy who, like Baroka FC before them, stand on the threshold of their greatest achievement yet.
With apologies to the Amakhosi followers, I know right now this is not exactly the kind of stuff that they’ll want to hear about their opponents in the final of the lucrative Nedbank Cup competition. I can’t blame them. I too would not want to listen to the praises of my opponent in the run-up to the big match day.
Say what you will, the format of this competition never fails to deliver on its founding promise of promoting or helping the unknown and unsung coaches from nowhere to reach the dizzying heights of Mzansi’s super football league. For that, we say ‘Big Ups’ to the sponsors of the Nedbank Cup.
Today Baroka FC is as much a household name as Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates are, thanks to the good intentions of the people at the bank. Galaxy are about to join the company of the select few.
It would not be amiss to speculate that once a no-brand team has reached the fringes of the super league in this fashion, there, more often than not, arises the desire to achieve more of the same by both the team and coach in question.
Regardless of the likely outcome of the Nedbank Cup final in about a month’s time on May 18 in Durban, one team will emerge “victorious” from the encounter irrespective of whether they score on the day or not, such is the magnitude and aura of the Cup final match that TS Galaxy find themselves in as of this past Easter weekend.
Oh, there is also the little matter of the coach’s credibility or integrity, if you like, that is in for a major repair after his previous employer Chippa United seemingly parted ways with him (Dan Malesela) on somewhat of a sour note.
Typical of a good coach, Malesela did not dwell on his supposed misfortune with Chippa but rather hunkered down to get the job done with Chippa’s provincial neighbours.
One can’t help but get the feeling that should Malesela pull one over the much-fancied Chiefs, he’d be the biggest winner as well as the happiest coach on the planet.
Let us for a moment digress and focus on the other big story, namely the route towards the climax of the Premier League. I am of the well-considered opinion that Sundowns should not have taken their foot off the pedal in their last league match against SuperSport United.
That 2-0 loss to their neighbours will cost them dearly as the conference winds down. You can’t afford a slip-up. Not when the likes of Gavin Hunt’s Clever Boys and Irvin Khoza’s Buccaneers are nipping at your heels as you make your way up the ladder.
One is, at the same time, acutely aware that Sundowns have an eye on a likely place in the CAF Champs final, dependent on a successful outing in the semis of that competition.
Should Masandwana pull off this amazing double cup take, it would forever cement their reputation as true champions of the game.
Having been a champion too as a snot-nosed youngster for “Manchester United” down here at makhaya, I know all too well what it takes to beat the best on the way to the final.
Keep going Masandawana!