King Monada ushers Baroka to TKO final against Pirates
With King Monada’s smash hit song Idibala blasting in the background‚ Baroka proved that this festive season belongs to Limpopo after overcoming Bidvest Wits 1-0 to reach the Telkom Knockout final on a tectonic afternoon yesterday.
When referee Victor Hlongwane blew the final whistle‚ emotional scenes erupted here at the mecca of football here in Polokwane. There was no shortage of teary eyes as the Baroka players and staff emotional embraced on the historic afternoon.
An eighth minute free-kick from Matome Mabeba was enough to get them through. Reaching the final is an extraordinary accomplishment for the upstarts who were founded in 2007 by their eccentric owner Khurishi Mphahlele.
This is what dreams are made of as their Zambian coach Wedson Nyirenda soaked in the moment with a short prayer‚ perhaps in dedication to his late mother who passed away earlier this month.
Baroka are now the first Limpopo team since 2011 when Black Leopards lost to Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup.
They will now have a chance to avenge that loss for their province in the TKO final against the Buccaneers on December 8 in Port Elizabeth.
With temperatures scorching at 33 degrees‚ Baroka’s familiarity with playing in these kind of conditions shone through.
The home side’s game-management was better than that of their opponents‚ as Wits huffed and puffed their way through the opening half hour.
Going into the match‚ the talk had been about playmaker Gift Motupa’s return to his former club.
But coach Gavin Hunt opted to start Motupa on the bench‚ only making an appearance as a second half substitute.
Bakgaga’s one-two punch of Mduduzi Mdantsane and Tebogo Sodi was giving the Wits defence headaches.
It would have been expected that Baroka would play with more energy considering they had Haashim Domingo and Deon Hotto on the pitch. But the team was rather lethargic in their attack and posed little danger to the tenacious home side.
Hunt tried to switch things around in the second half but it was clearly not Wits’ day.
Motupa made his presence felt but the necessary link-up play with his teammates was just not there.
In the end‚ the home side held on for what will surely go down as one of their biggest achievement in their existence‚ surely surpassing the NFD title wins.