Celtic aim to end seven-year drought
Bloemfontein Celtic will hope to lift their first trophy since 2005, when they take on a resurgent Mamelodi Sundowns’ side on Saturday evening for the Telkom Knockout Final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, kick-off at 20h15.
The last time the Phunya Sele Sele were crowned Champions was during the reign of Paul Dolezar who led them to the Top 8 trophy when they beat SuperSport United 1-0.
Clinton Larsen will be looking to do the same thing with his squad, where he has seen his team push aside Chippa United, the defending Champions Orlando Pirates and Free State Stars en route to the final.
And goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb says the squad is ready for action.
“We are very happy to be in the final and we have worked hard to be here. We know it has been a long time, since 2005, that we won something,” says the Cameroonian.
“It is going to be difficult but we are hoping for something good. By the grace of God we want to win.”
Sundowns have managed to reach the final despite their poor domestic form and Tignyemb isn’t taking that for granted.
“The league games and cup games are different from each other. Sundowns is a good team and they are there for a reason,” he adds. “We just need to focus from beginning to end and play our normal game.
“We have developed a lot because in the Telkom Knockout it is one game- if you lose one game you are out. We have played as a team and we fight as a team, from attack to defence, we work together and we have to keep fighting hard.”
The clash will represent the first competitive final between the two teams, but they have faced each other on nine different occasions in a cup competition.
The Chloorkop outfit has come out on top on the majority of occasions with seven wins and only two falling in favour of Bloemfontein Celtic.
Despite sitting just second bottom of the Absa Premiership log, Sundowns have managed to cast aside their domestic form to defy the odds and end up in the final.
On their road to the final they came across the University of Pretoria, AmaZulu and MTN8 finalists SuperSport United, and it id from those games where Wayne Sandilands is seeking inspiration.
“We can take confidence in the positives from past matches, but when you are playing in a cup final, stats and history count for very little,” explained the shot-stopper.
“The team that goes out there and plays their hearts out are the ones who stand a good chance of lifting the trophy in Durban.”
The Brazilians are one of the few teams to have taken three points at the Free State Stadium, but the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper says that carries little weight into the game.
“We might have beaten them in the league match in Bloemfontein, but we all saw that they rested some of their key players for the final. We cannot judge them based on that performance and can therefore expect a different Celtic side,” concluded Sandilands.
1987 Mainstay 2nd round Celtic 2-1 Sundowns (Saila 2; Chueu)
1988 JPS quarterfinal Sundowns 2-1 Celtic (Chafunya 2 (1 pen); Saila)
1989 Bob Save quarterfinal Sundowns 3-1 Celtic (Chitja, Legodi, Nakhumwa; Dandize)
1993 Coca-Cola quarterfinal Sundowns 0-1 Celtic (Skosana)
1996/97 Coca-Cola 1st round Celtic 0-1 Sundowns (Mudau)
1999/00 Rothmans qfinal, 1st leg Celtic 2-3 Sundowns (Nikane, Matsau (pen); Mnguni 2, Shai)
1999/00 Rothmans qfinal, 2nd leg Sundowns 3-1 Celtic (Mudau, Shai, Amougou; Vries)
2007/08 SAA Supa8 quarterfinal Sundowns 4-1 Celtic (Moriri, Mhlongo, Leremi, Ngwenya; Mahlatsi)
2011/12 MTN8 quarterfinal Sundowns 1-0 Celtic (Khenyeza)
Last 10 league meetings
2007/08 Sundowns 0-0 Celtic
2008/09 Celtic 0-1 Sundowns (Moriri)
2008/09 Sundowns 1-0 Celtic (Moriri)
2009/10 Celtic 0-2 Sundowns (Khenyeza, Katongo)
2009/10 Sundowns 0-0 Celtic
2010/11 Celtic 1-1 Sundowns (Mshengu; Mphela)
2010/11 Sundowns 3-1 Celtic (Mushekwi 3 (1 pen); Oersen (pen))
2011/12 Sundowns 2-1 Celtic (Mushekwi, Pelembe; Mathoho)
2011/12 Celtic 0-0 Sundowns
2012/13 Celtic 0-1 Sundowns (Henyekane)