chiefs wary of arrows

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Kaizer Chiefs' impressive cup record did not bother Lamontville Golden Arrows who drew the Amakhosi in the lucrative Telkom Knockout's last 16 stage.

The draw that captured the imagination of players, fans and officials was conducted at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg yesterday.

And while most of the teams were delighted with the draw, Amakhosi looked worried about facing Abafana Besithende, who are on top of their game lately.

It is no wonder, with a R4million first prize on offer, along with a R250 000 participation fee.

The competition kicks off this month with the quarterfinals and the semifinals set to be played next month. The final is scheduled for December.

The league's chief executive, Kjetil Siem said: "We've seen what cup football can deliver to South Africa in recent times and the 20008-2009 edition of this knockout certainly has all the ingredients of a humdinger of a tournament."

"As the official sponsor of this knockout, we're proud to maintain its dedication to the development of South African players by providing the platform for our footballers to show off their skills and talents," said Steven Hayward, the sponsors' group executive.

Arrows' spokesman, Zwelethu Mzolo said: "We've never been in the final of any competition, so this is an opportunity for us to go an extra mile. Playing at home will be to our advantage."

Chiefs' communications manager Siyabulela Makunga admitted they were meeting a team that is on the rampage.

"Their most recent performances speak volumes, but we enjoy being under pressure and we're aware that we're meeting a deadly side, but we're certain to come out unscathed."

AmaZulu PRO Philani Mabaso, whose side host SuperSport United, said: "They don't command a lot of following at home and away, so our supporters are going to put them under pressure."

United's spokesman David Skhosana said: "We're worried because their coach is a veteran of many wars. But seeing that there is no second chance we're going all out for a win. We lost in the second round of this event last year - not this time."

The draw for the last 16 (home team first): Pirates v Thanda; Ajax v Platinum Stars; Celtic v Santos; Sundowns v Bay United; Free State Stars v Maritzburg United; Swallows v Wits; AmaZulu v SuperSport; Arrows v Chiefs.