Nedbank Cup Semifinal: Kaizer Chiefs v Free State Stars Preview

Kaizer Chiefs v Free State Stars Peview

Our football pundit gives his insight on how the Nedbank Cup clash between Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars will unfold on Saturday 21 April 2018.

With the Nedbank Cup known for “giant killings” and upsets along the way to the final, here we are with four of the top five teams in South Africa’s top flight showcasing their talent in the semi-finals. This Saturday, Kaizer Chiefs do battle with Free State Stars at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, while we have a ‘Super Sunday’ to look forward to when Maritzburg United host Mamelodi Sundowns at the Harry Gwala Stadium. The Nedbank Cup should prove to be scrumptious, with Chiefs, Stars and Maritzburg all desperate for silverware, while Masandawana will look to keep their treble-winning hopes alive.

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Nedbank Cup
Kaizer Chiefs vs Free State Stars
Saturday 21 April
Moses Mabhida Stadium 20:15

Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars will go head-to-head for the third time this season, and second at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The sides played out to a 1-1 draw in their earlier meeting at Durban’s iconic stadium, however, Amakhosi came out on top in Bethlehem courtesy of a late header by Teenage Hadebe. This tie also holds huge significance in terms of the coaching staff, with Steve Komphela coming up against his former side, while Luc Eymael is the favourite to take over at Naturena from next season.

To win (90 mins)
Kaizer Chiefs 17/20
Draw 9/4
Free State Stars 3/1

 SBN

Kaizer Chiefs
Steve Komphela has the chance of bolstering his CV and claiming his first trophy since first being appointed as Kaizer Chiefs boss when he comes up against his former employers this Saturday. The club have been far from their best since he’s taken over, but with the 50-year-old’s contract concluding at the end of the season, this is the perfect time to leave the club with some sort of silverware.

It’s been three long barren years for Chiefs, but this time around, there is a sense of optimism around the Amakhosi camp. Speaking after his side’s quarter-final win over Baroka FC, Komphela stated that the club need to win trophies, not only for the success of the team but for the fans as well.

“We have been to two cup finals‚ semi-finals and all that. We need to win something, not for ourselves‚ but we serve these people,” he stated.

“They want to win trophies. Chiefs is about winning trophies and it is their pride and we want to qualify that,” Komphela concluded.

Siphiwe Tshabalala is likely to return to the line-up this weekend after being rested against Platinum Stars, as he looks to add to his contribution of 13 goals, assisting his teammates nine times, while Shabba’s scoring boots have got him four goals across all competitions.

Free State Stars
After exceeding all expectations, Free State Stars will look to cap their impressive season off with a piece of silverware. The club have gone through a bit of a dip in form in recent weeks, with Luc Eymael’s charges last winning in 90 minutes against Chippa United – which coincidentally, came in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup.

Regardless of Free State Stars’ form in recent weeks, Eymael has done a fantastic job at the helm. They’re still in with a chance of participating in next season’s CAF Confederations Cup, but if they fail to do so, winning this competition would see them book their spot in Africa’s second biggest continental tournament.

Ea Lla Koto have played an exciting brand of football this campaign, and the players seem to have shared the goals all over the pitch. Former Amakhosi striker, Siphelele Mthembu, and the infamous Mohammed Anas – who made headlines for thanking his wife and his girlfriend live on television – have been Stars’ go-to guys. Mthembu has scored six times across all competitions, while Anas has netted five times.

Eymael will be desperate to impress what could be his future employers, while the chance of leaving Stars on a high seems to be a top priority.

Verdict: Free State Stars (3/1)
Kaizer Chiefs have been far from impressive in the last couple of weeks, and with Komphela, who continuously fails to get the best out of his players in cup competitions, I’m leaning towards Free State Stars reaching the finals. They’ve been a joy to watch this season, and their draw at Moses Mabhida against Chiefs earlier in the campaign will be a massive morale-booster. At 3/1, they’re well worth a punt to get the job done in 90 minutes.

Jesse Nagel

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