Former Mamelodi Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela and Orlando Pirates defender Happy Jele say to not see the ‘big three’ teams in the PSL involved in the Carling Knockout semi-finals provides a breath of fresh air for the viewers.
TS Galaxy started the surprises as they knocked Mamelodi Sundowns out of the competition in the first round, though the Tshwane giants coach Rulani Mokwena was not happy with the scheduling of that game, which saw all Bafana Bafana players, who were in Cote d’Ivoire, miss the fixture.
Kaizer Chiefs were then dumped out in the first round by AmaZulu at the FNB Stadium, with Usuthu winning away against Amakhosi in the knockout competition in the PSL era for the first time in their history.
Orlando Pirates, who have won the last three knockout competitions, and having won in the first round unlike Chiefs and Downs, were considered strong favourites until they were sent packing by Richards Bay in the quarter-finals in a penalty shootout in Durban.
This represent a huge chance for the smaller clubs to win this competition since these big three are out, who normally win cup competitions along with SuperSport United and Cape Town City respectively.
Bay is just in their second season in the top flight and have not won a major trophy and so is Stellenbosch FC, AmaZulu, while TS Galaxy won the Nedbank Cup in 2018/19 season when they were campaigning in the second tier, defeating Chiefs in the final.
Bay will get the ball rolling in these semis, when they host Stellies later this afternoon at King Zwelithini Stadium, before Usuthu host Galaxy at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
“It is quite refreshing for other clubs and it shows that football is going in a good direction – South African football,” Mphela, who is now a car salesman at VW in Midrand, told iDiski Times.
“For the so-called small teams to be in the semi-finals and the big ones are out, it gives them opportunity to win a trophy. I think coaches like Steve Barker have been long in the game and contributed a lot in this game. I think they deserve silverware somewhere, somehow.
“I’m not saying they are going to win. You also look at teams like AmaZulu, when was the last time they won a trophy? Its been 31 years. But it is good to see such things happening in our football.”
Jele, who is another ambassador of this year’s tourmanent along with Hlompho Kekana and Mandla Masango, also echoed Mphela’s point, adding, “Like KG said, it is very nice to see the so-called small teams are participating in the semi finals. We have seen Richards Bay, with the way they have played, knocked out Pirates and they played well, they deserve to be there. You saw TS Galaxy beating Sundowns, its all up to them now. If you beat the big guns, might as well win it.
“Because you deserve it. I feel like each and every team that is there deserves to win and we would like to see the new champion. It will be nice to see Richards Bay win the trophy, it will be nice to see AmaZulu win the trophy, it’s going to be nice to see Stellenbosch win the trophy and Galaxy as well. It will provide a breathe of fresh air because it is something we have not seen in years.”
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The winner of the two semi finals will square off each other in the final on 16 December at the Moses Mabhida Stadiun.