Chiefs have the upper hand over Pirates in TKO

Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will meet each other in the Telkom Knockout semi-final at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, 24 November. Amakhosi have never lost to the Buccaneers in this cup competition.

The two rivals last faced each other in the Telkom Knockout in 2015, with the Glamour Boys winning the semi-final encounter 6-5 on penalties after the game had finished in a goalless draw.

It was a fascinating cup clash played at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 7 November 2015.

Amakhosi goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo had a fantastic outing in the tense semi-final, making numerous saves and was therefore deservedly selected as Man of the Match. The ‘keeper moved during the recent off-season across to the Buccaneers and might even make his debut for his new side this time around.

Siphiwe Tshabalala, Willard Katsande, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Lorenzo Gordinho, Tsepo Masilela and Lucky Baloyi all scored for the Glamour Boys in the penalty shoot-out, with only Siphelele Mthembu failing to find the back of the net from the spot.

Thanks to the victory, Chiefs moved on to face Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final, only to be edged 3-1. It was the last time that Amakhosi reached the final of the competition, while the Buccaneers last reached the final in 2013, losing out 2-1 to winners Platinum Stars.

The League Cup competition had several sponsors over the years since its launch in 1982. It was known as Datsun Challenge during the first two years, becoming the John Players Special Knockout from 1984 to 1991. Chiefs won the competition in its second year, beating Wits University 2-1 in the final. Amakhosi also won the inaugural John Players Special Knockout by getting the better of Durban Bush Bucks over two legs, drawing 1-1 and winning 1-0.

Other names of the League Cup over the years are: Coca-Cola Cup (1992-1996), Rothmans Cup (1997-2000), Coca-Cola Cup (2001-2005) and, since 2006, the Telkom Knockout. The Glamour Boys won the cup competition a record 13 times, while reaching the finals 17 times. The Buccaneers got to eight finals, only to lose seven of them. Pirates’ sole League Cup win was the 2011 edition after Bidvest Wits 3-1.

Chiefs last won the Telkom Knockout in 2010, easily going past rivals Pirates 3-1, thanks to a brace from Sthembiso Ngcobo and a stunning strike from Siphiwe Tshabalala. It was the only time the sides met each other in this cup competition. The Buccaneers were completely outclassed on the day with Ngcobo being selected as the Man of the Match after a splendid performance.

Amakhosi had already won the cup earlier in the same year – as the Telkom Knockout was played twice in 2010 due to the 2010 World Cup. The Glamour Boys had the better of Ajax Cape Town in the final, winning 2-1. Chiefs reached the final thanks to getting past Pirates 3-0 on penalties (the game had ended in a goalless draw).

Another classic League Cup Derby occurred in 1992, when the two sides met each other in the Coca-Cola Cup quarterfinal. The Buccaneers went with a 2-0 advantage into the half-time break, but the Glamour Boys came out fighting in the second half. Fani Madida and Albert Bwalya found the back of the net, taking the game into extra time where it was goal poacher Madida who netted the eventual winner. The Neil Tovey-captained side went on to reach the final, only to lose out 3-1 to AmaZulu.

Amazingly, that 1992 cup victory was only the second time that the two Soweto sides met each other in the Telkom Knockout. The first time was in 1983, when Chiefs won 1-0 with Jan ‘Malombo’ Lechaba becoming the first scorer of a goal in a Soweto Derby in this cup competition.

The third time that the two rivals met was in the semi-final of the Rothmans Cup, as the competition was known at the time, winning over two legs. Chiefs lost the second leg 1-0, but the Glamour Boys had already done the work in the first leg at home, getting a 3-1 victory thanks to a brace from Pollen Ndlanya and a fine finish from Marc Batchelor.

The two sides have only clashed six times in the history of the Telkom Knockout competition and haven’t even lost once, although two games had to be decided on penalties.

This bodes well for the Telkom Knockout semi-final clash on Saturday which promises to be an epic battle between the two Soweto rivals, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.  It will also be interesting to see if there will be another hero goalscorer – who will follow in the footsteps of Ngcobo, Madida or Ndlanya to net a brace in a League Cup Derby.