“It will be rocking,” forecasts Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter about the atmosphere at the Moses Mabhida Stadium where the MTN 8 Cup final between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will be hosted on Saturday evening (kick off at 20:15). “There will be a beautiful vibe.”
The last two MTN8 Cup finals Kaizer Chiefs participated in went to extra time. In 2011, the Buccaneers had the upper hand after extra time, winning 1-0. Three years earlier, the Amakhosi beat Mamelodi Sundowns after penalties, because ninety minutes of play and extra time didn’t produce any goal. In the end, Chiefs won 4-3, with José Torrealba, Gert Schalkwyk, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Yeye Letsholonyane scoring from the spot.
Baxter, however, hopes that Saturday’s Cup final won’t have to go to extra time: “I think that everybody prefers the game to be finished in regulation time. Because when it goes to penalties it becomes a kind of a lottery. Although, of course, we will be fully prepared in case it does go to penalties.”
In the 2008 MTN8 Cup final, Itumeleng Khune did excellently in goal. But due to his injury, Khune will miss the match. So it will be either Reyaad Pieterse or Brilliant Khuzwayo in goal. Khuzwayo was the No 1 in last weekend’s Absa Premiership win over AmaTuks.
“They are both very good goalkeepers ready to play in the MTN8 final,” Baxter says. “Khuzwayo did a decent job against Tuks, while Pieterse showed several times last season what he’s worth. Who will be in goal? People will know an hour before the game.”
The coach further stressed at the Media Day hosted at the Chiefs Village on Tuesday that, like usual, he will opt for a positive approach towards the match. “Because if you try to be conservative,” explains Baxter. “You often find yourself on the back foot and maybe even getting scared as a result. That’s not our approach. We want to be on the front foot.”