Celtic have fewer finals than Wits‚ but know how to close the deal

General Views during the MTN 8 Final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits at Mbombela Stadium on October 01, 2016 in Nelspruit, South Africa.
General Views during the MTN 8 Final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits at Mbombela Stadium on October 01, 2016 in Nelspruit, South Africa.
Image: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images

Bidvest Wits go into the 2017 Telkom Knockout final at Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban with a mixed history in cup deciders‚ but opponents Bloemfontein Celtic have a much better conversion rate.

Cup finals have been something of a lottery for Wits in recent past‚ with success and failure in equal measure‚ which has also been the pattern through the club’s history.

They have contested 13 knockout finals to date since the formation of the National Professional Soccer League in 1971‚ and those have yielded seven wins and six defeats.

In 1978 they recorded a 3-2 success over Kaizer Chiefs in the final of the Mainstay Cup (now Nedbank Cup) in what was a first major knockout success in the club’s history.

But that was followed by a 2-1 loss to Chiefs in the decider of the Datsun Challenge (now Telkom Knockout) in 1983.

The following season they beat Moroka Swallows in the two-legged final of the BP Top 8 (MTN8)‚ and then 12 months later claimed the John Player Special Knockout Cup (Telkom Knockout) by beating Chiefs 2-1 in a replay of the final.

But they then lost the final of the BP Top 8 to Arcadia Shepherds in 1986.

Four finals in as many seasons in the mid-1980s showed the pedigree of the side at that time.

What followed was a period of disappointment though with defeats to Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns in successive years in the BP Top 8 in 1989 and 1990‚ before the team returned with a bang in 1995 with a twin success.

They beat Chiefs 2-0 to win the BP Top 8 and also sunk Orlando Pirates 1-0 in the final of the Coca-Cola Cup (now Telkom Knockout).

The side found it much harder to reach cup finals after that and have in fact only been to four in the proceeding 22 years.

Three of those were in what is now the Nedbank Cup as they lost 1-0 to SuperSport United in 2005 and 3-1 to Pirates in 2014‚ to go with a 3-0 success over AmaZulu in 2010.

Their previous cup final appearance was in the MTN8 last season when they thumped Sundowns 3-0.

Celtic have been in far fewer finals – just four – but have ended up victorious in three of those.

Siwelele famously won the Mainstay Cup in 1985 as they beat African Wanderers 2-1 in the final‚ but a year later lost in the decider for the now defunct Panasonic Cup‚ going down 4-2 to Chiefs.

It would be 19 years before they reached a final again‚ defeating SuperSport United 1-0 in the decider of the SAA Supa8.

Their most recent final was in the Telkom Knockout in 2012 when they stunned Sundowns 1-0.

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