Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and Chippa United will be battling to succeed Mamelodi Sundowns as Nedbank Cup champions when they clash in the final at Free State Stadium on Saturday.
It is a battle of teams who are struggling in the Premier Soccer League as relegation threatens both sides.
But the Nedbank Cup could provide a reprieve for Chippa who are second-from-bottom on the PSL standings with six points better than basement side Black Leopards, while TTM are just a rung above the Chilli Boys with a point better.
Both sides, however, defied the underdogs tag to reach the final of the prestigious knockout tournament in South African football whose winner is guaranteed participation in the Caf Confederation Cup.
Interestingly, it is the first time ever for both sides to appear in the final of a major competition.
|Game||Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila vs Chippa United|
|Date||Saturday, May 8|
|Time||18:00 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Online Streaming||TV Channel|
|DStv.com/DStv Now App||SuperSport TV’s PSL channel 202/SABC 1|
Squads & Team News
No TTM player is suspended for Saturday’s match in what is good news for coach Dylan Kerr as well as his assistants David Mathebula and Mpho Maleka.
No TTM player is confirmed injured for this match either, and the club will be banking on the likes of goalkeeper Washington Arubi and the experienced crop of Thabo Rakhale, Joseph Malongoane, Alfred Ndengane, Thabo Mnyamane and Mogakolodi Ngele to deliver them the Nedbank Cup.
Chippa coach Vladislav Heric also does not have anything to worry about in terms of suspensions in his camp.
Seasoned campaigners like Kurt Lentjies, Anthony Laffor, Oupa Manyisa and Thamsanqa Sangweni headline the Chilli Boys’ squad which arrived in Bloemfontein on Friday.
While TTM and Chippa have been struggling in the league for the better part of the season, they go into this final on the backdrop of some recent encouraging results.
Interestingly, both sides have beaten Kaizer Chiefs in league games in the past week.
First it was the Chilli Boys who dismissed Amakhosi 1-0 away at FNB Stadium on April 28, before TTM edged the Soweto giants 2-1 on Tuesday with Mnyamane and Rakhale on target.
That was the last time TTM were involved in action and that result could be the right tonic they needed ahead of the Nedbank Cup final.
Chippa United are also on a high after beating Stellenbosch 1-0 in their last match which came soon after the victory over Chiefs.
In the road to the Nedbank Cup final, TTM came up against PSL sides all the way, including giant-killing acts, first eliminating SuperSport United in the Round of 32 with a 1-0 win.
They followed this up by knocking out then-high-flying Swallows FC via a penalty shootout with Arubi becoming the hero of that encounter.
Vhadau Vha Damani then went past Black Leopards in the quarter-finals after a 2-0 win.
Their most notable result was stunning overwhelming favourites Mamelodi Sundowns in the semi-finals with Arubi again emerging as the penalty shootout hero.
They now face Chippa who thrice battled against National First Division sides on their way to the final.
They first sneaked into the Round of 16 after a penalty shootout victory over Free State Stars, before getting past Cape Town City.
Next to be kicked out the competition were Richards Bay in a 2-1 quarter-final result before the Eastern Cape outfit secured a slim 1-0 win to book a place in the final.
The last time TTM and Chippa met, they drew 1-1 in a PSL match last November.