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But Zondo rues Celtic's lackadaisical display

By unknown | Nov 12, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

If Saturday was any other day, Bloemfontein Celtic would have fought harder than they did against Kaizer Chiefs to secure a spot in the final of the Telkom Knockout.

Instead, in the words of coach Khabo Zondo, Phunya Selesele meekly gave away that priviledge to Chiefs on a day that nothing seemed to go his team's way. Firstly, they hardly had any room to string passes together, as the Chiefs' duo, Tinashe Nengomasha and goalscorer and man of the match Gerald Sibeko won almost every challenge in the middle of the park.

Secondly, Chiefs' back-four did not have to worry about the danger a certain Petros Mahlatsi would have presented had he been lurking around their penalty area as he did not make an appearance on the field until well into the second half.

No wonder then Muhsin Ertugral felt his team was always in the driver's seat. Sibeko put Chiefs ahead in the 11th minute after numerous misses, and save for Sibeko again hitting the cross bar in the 25th minute, Amakhosi played as if they sensed it was only a matter of counting the days until the final of this tournament on December 1.

Chiefs did not even seem that worried, as their defenders, led by Fabian McCarthy, neutralised a rampant Celtic, who after the break, overcame their lethargy and went looking for the equaliser. At first Lebogang Mothibantwa's scorcher hit the bar, and then goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune denied Mahlatsi, who had come in for Lebohang Kukame.

After the match Zondo could only confess that his boys failed to put in the amount of work it required to seriously challenge for honours in these kinds of competitions.

"They scored their goal, and then went about protecting their lead the whole time. As for us, we did not play well at all, and did not seem to want to win the game. We gave away possession cheaply and did everything to hand them the final spot," Zondo said.

Although he did not quite shower Chiefs with compliments, Zondo accepted his team only got into second gear late in the second half, after the introduction of Carlo Scott and Mahlatsi.

A serene Ertugral was only too happy to heap praise on the players for following his instructions. Sibeko, in particular had not really received too many chances before, and this display will go a long way to endearing him to the Chiefs faithful.

"We have to put this behind us and prepare for the next games. We don't mind who our opponents will be in the final, but are just happy, to have gotten over this challenge,' said Ertugral.


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