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Football | Nedbank Cup

Big Match Feature: Free State Stars v Maritzburg



Free State Stars will face Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup final with both teams hoping to lift the coveted trophy at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.

Kick-off is at 7:00pm.

The Bethlehem-based side has done exceptionally well in the tournament to reach their first final since 1999 when they lost to Mamelodi Sundowns in the Rothmans Cup.

Ea Lla Koto beat Super Eagles (2-1 after extra time), Chippa United 2-1, Ubuntu Cape Town FC on penalties and downed Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 to reach the final.

Although they have never won the Ke Yona Cup, they finished as runners-up in 1994 (Bob Save Super Bowl) as QwaQwa Stars losing to Vaal Professionals and will want to rewrite the club’s history.

Apart from their fine form in the cup competition, they are fresh from a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Orlando Pirates in their final Absa Premiership encounter.

On the part of their opponents, Maritzburg have earned their final berth courtesy of wins over Swallows FC, Royal Eagles, Bloemfontein Celtic as well as bagging a massive win over Mamelodi Sundowns.

The Team of Choice is touted as favourites to walk away with the gold medal at the end of the match, but they will have to work hard for the prize.

Against a strong and tactically disciplined Stars, coach Fadlu Davids will want to see his men continuing with their fine form and the resilience they displayed against the league champions in the semis.

The Team of Choice will make their first final appearance in a major competition and will also want to make history as far as the PSL records are concerned.

In their league campaign, United come from two winless matches, a draw against Golden Arrows and 2-0 defeat against Amakhosi.

Moreover, the winner at the iconic Mother City stadium will qualify to play in the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

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Previous Starting XI:

Free State Stars: Ngobeni, Masehe, Mobbie, Mahamutsa, Keita, Phungwayo, Mthembu, Tchilimbou, Dlamini, Jantjie, Vilakazi

Maitzburg United: Ofori, De Reuck, Fransman, Xulu, Sanoka, Makaringe, Maboe, Mekoa, Shandu, Ndlovu, Fileccia

Head-to-Head (since 2005/06)

PREVIOUS CUP MEETINGS

Season Cup Result Scorers

2008/09 Telkom KO, last 16 Stars 2-0 Maritzburg Sibisi 2

LAST 10 LEAGUE RESULTS

Season Result Scorers

2013/14 Stars 2-0 Maritzburg Ouro-Akoriko, Abdul-Basit

2013/14 Maritzburg 3-2 Stars Evans 2, Jayiya; Venter, Cloete

2014/15 Stars 1-1 Maritzburg Sekola; Mngonyama

2014/15 Maritzburg 0-0 Stars

2015/16 Maritzburg 2-3 Stars Lentjies, Anas; Venter, Fileccia, Sankara

2015/16 Stars 0-1 Maritzburg Van Wyk

2016/17 Stars 1-1 Maritzburg Dlamini; Lentjies

2016/17 Maritzburg 2-1 Stars Rusike, Maboe; Anas

2017/18 Maritzburg 0-1 Stars Jantjie

2017/18 Stars 0-3 Maritzburg Fileccia, Rusike, Shandu

CUP RECORD OVERALL RECORD (all competitions

P W D L GF GA P W D L GF GA

Stars 1 1 0 0 2 0 Stars 23 9 10 4 31 20

Maritzburg 1 0 0 1 0 2 Maritzburg 23 4 10 9 20 31

What the teams are saying:

Free State Stars defender Rooi Mahamutsa:

“Playing in the continent is a great feeling because it is another environment,” Mahamutsa said.

“I have been speaking to the guys, telling them that let’s go all out in the final so that we win this trophy and you get to experience the environment that’s out there.

"It’s totally different compared to domestic football. I have been looking forward to returning there. We will try our best so that we can go and play the Confederation Cup.

“This isn’t the first time I will be playing in a final but the feeling is a bit different. It’s a bit more special with Free State Stars because not many people expected us to be here.”

Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids:

“The most important thing is to approach it like any normal game and that is what we’ll try to do,” Davids said.

“We have to be aware that of course, Free State Stars have got more cup pedigree than us. They’ve been in a cup final before and it’s our first time. It's the first time for our players as well.

“We've got to approach it like a normal match and know that we are underdogs taking into consideration the cup pedigree.”

Key players for Free State Stars:

Thela Ngobeni:

The goalkeeper was outstanding for the side as they downed Amakhosi in Durban. Heading to this one, his aim is to help the club and lift the trophy.

Harris Tchilimbou:

The Congolese international is the man who netted twice to dispatch Amakhosi in Durban. His ability to make runs behind the defence will be key for Stars.

Key players for Maritzburg United:

Siyanda Xulu:

The revived defender has a tough task in ensuring he closes down Stars’ attack on the day. His ability to go forward and get a goal or two could help them.

Siphesihle Ndlovu:

Ndlovu has had a fantastic season so far and will hope to finish on a high. A gold medal in his first cup final will be a massive achievement for the youngster.



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