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Football | Telkom Knockout

Steve Komphela © Gallo Images

Komphela eager to break cup drought



Free State Stars coach Steve Komphela fancies his team's chances as they look to end their 18-year cup drought.

Stars face Bloemfontein Celtic in the penultimate round of the Telkom Knockout in a derby clash in Phuthaditjhaba on Sunday as they aim for a place in the final.

''Preparations are going well for the game and the mood is high," Komphela said on Wednesday.

"We need work hard and avoid conceding stupid goals, as in other games, and end up losing.

"We are going to be as aggressive as we can and play as a unit.

"This is a historic match and it's time for this generation to be part of history, going to the final and winning the cup."

Stars are boosted by the return from suspension of anchor midfielder Paulus Masehe and Dove Wome, giving Komphela a full-strength squad for the match.

Eyeing his second cup final after he led Manning Rangers to the last round of the 2004 Absa Cup (the cross-league knockout competition), when they lost 3-1 to Moroka Swallows, Komphela said having all his players available made selection choices more difficult.

''I have a headache arising from deciding who to select," he said.

"Masehe and Wome are quality players and they know what is expected of them, but the one thing is that they must earn the jersey."

Komphela was wary of Celtic's fighting spirit and scoring ability, which saw them fight back from two goals down to draw 3-3 against title holders Orlando Pirates, eventually winning their quarterfinal on penalties.

''The fact Celtic managed to recover against Pirates just tells it's going to be a tough game," he said.

"They are a high scoring team, unlike us who have yet to find our rhythm, but we are ready for a battle to reach the final.''

Celtic are chasing their third major cup title after winning the cross-league cup in 1985 and the top-eight trophy in 2005.

Stars are looking for their second Telkom Knockout title after winning the tournament in 1994, under a different name due to sponsorship rights, when they beat Hellenic 3-2 in the final.

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