Chiefs-Celtic the pick of semis
Soccer enthusiasts from around the country must gear themselves for a combustible battle of the titans among the remaining four teams in the lucrative Telkom Knockout.
The four teams that have progressed through to the semifinals on November 10 and 11 are Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars.
At a draw conducted at Wanderers yesterday, Chiefs were drawn against Celtic for their clash in Mafikeng on November 10, while Sundowns and Stars clash in Kimberley the next day. The intriguing aspect of these two matches is the fact that three of the four semifinalists - Chiefs, Celtic and Stars - have never gone beyond the quarterfinal stage of this prized competition that carries a whopping R4,25 million first prize.
Sundowns were booted out of the semifinals by Ajax Cape Town last year.
The more mouth-watering of the two games is the match between Amakhosi and Phunya Selesele, which is bound to see throngs of football lovers converging on the small Mmabatho Stadium.
Their encounters have been thrilling and hair-raising, and this one will be like a final before the final.
Chiefs' communications director Thebe Mohatle said: "Our game against Celtic is a closed chapter - a done deal, although we respect them because they are a formidable lot.
"They are doing well and their coach is gradually turning the side into a winning combination, but we can play them anywhere, even at their stronghold Bloemfontein, and beat them."
Celtic's manager Khumbulani Kongo was not perturbed about Mohatle's utterances. He said it was a good draw for them and they were happy to meet Chiefs at this stage of the competition.
"They're struggling to find their feet while we're ready for any team in the league. The final could be a Free State derby."
Sundowns' assistant supporters coordinator Daniel Mudau said: "We saw Stars in action. They're a good side and one of the dark horses in this event."
Stars publicist Louis Tshakoane said: "We're meeting the champions of South Africa, but our players are motivated and hungry for glory. We're not in this competition by mistake, so we're going to prove our worth."