Manzini’s second-half goal signals milestone
Chippa United successfully booked their spot in the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup after a 1-0 win against Jomo Cosmos at the Nelson Mandela Stadium at the weekend.
It was striker Lerato Manzini’s second-half goal which took the Chilli Boys to the next round of the competition.
This is another milestone for coach Dan Malesela’s troops as they have never got this far.
“Obviously, yes I am happy that we progressed to the semifinals. It’s another first for the club,” he said.
“It was a very tough game and towards the end a little bit scary as well.”
Considering the fact that Malesela had to make many changes to his team due to injuries, the coach said he was happy with his players’ performance.
However, he said there was always room for improvement.
The Port Elizabeth side play Maritzburg United at the NMB Stadium tomorrow (7.30pm).
Asked if their semifinal qualification and the hype around it could distract the player’s from performing well in the league, Malesela replied: “I cannot be in the mind of the players. I can only say what I have to say. I can only advise and try and regulate things.”
Meanwhile, a simple message‚ “make the fans happy”‚ pushed Orlando Pirates to beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 after extra time at Orlando Stadium on Saturday to book another place in the semifinals.
Once known as the Happy People‚ the Ghost have had few reasons to be happy about this season. That misery is compounded by the fact that this year the club is celebrating their 80th anniversary.
Their performance in the Nedbank Cup has shown a team driven to make up for the past disappointment and give the club something shiny to celebrate that milestone with.
Coach Kjell Jonevret had to inspire his players and ensure that they did not drop their heads after conceding with just three minutes to take the match to extra time as 90 minutes ended 1-1.
“We told them that this is our game and we shouldn’t bow down to them‚” Jonevret said.
“We told them to listen to the people around them [the fans] and make them happy.”
The players responded and secured passage to the last four‚ joining Chippa, Golden Arrows and SuperSport United.
The Buccaneers will learn who they will face in the draw to be conducted today.
Despite the victory‚ Jonevret was not entirely happy.
“We talk about critical phases of the game‚ after you’ve scored and the last 10 minutes of the match‚” he said.
“We were not good in those periods. We were too sloppy with the ball.” – Additional reporting by Njabulo Ngidi