AFTER a series of preliminary rounds, the business end of the Nedbank Cup for Limpopo teams goes down to the wire with a derby between struggling Polokwane City and National First Division pacesetters Baroka FC at the Peter Mokaba stadium this Sunday.
Baroka are the only lower league team still left in the competition, having beaten both Chippa United and Golden Arrows. The vibrant band from Ga-Mphahlele outside Polokwane drummed and trumpeted their way to the sporting glory of domestic football’s pyramid with a magnificent display of classical brand of diski.
The band’s musical rhythms were probably their best highlights, beating just about everyone who tried to block them from tasting success.
It is something within the combatant Bakgaga ba Mphahlele’s DNA of the old era that they require an extra challenge. Perhaps it has to do with their warrior-like lineage that runs through the blood of their premier players – but fighting for survival is what usually brings the best out of Coach Kgoloko Thobejane’s players.
Now it is the time for the best footballers on the Limpopo soccer landscape to show their talents in one of the best club competitions in the country.
Baroka will be the primary target as pretenders seeking to dislodge the big guns from the throne. Their road to the elite league is for now as clear as broad daylight, unless after starting with a boom, they later stutter and lose their grip – a scenario that seems far-fetched.
A quick look at the Absa Premiership log standing confirms crystal clear, based on the mathematical law of congruence, that City are a team with a porous defence and despite having one of the deadliest talismanic strikers, Thobani Mncwango in the elite league, they constantly fire blanks instead of shaking the back of the net.
But the same cannot be said about Bakgaga.
The team from the second tier of domestic football has undergone a tremendous transformation from one coach to the other. Talking of the team’s revolution, which has already been televised, it will be disingenuous to deliberately forget or ignore the contribution made by a young Sello Chokoe, their former coach.
It was under his tutelage in 2011 when Baroka, an unknown team that beat the mighty Kaizer Chiefs and later Moroka Swallows when the latter were still campaigning in the premier league. It is for this reason that on Sunday when kick-off arrives, they will have enough motivation to invade the pitch on the south western outskirts of Polokwane with a swagger, and buoyancy to proceed to the next round of this lucrative cup competition.
However, this season’s challenge could come from new quarters.
Baroka have slugged it out for supremacy, leaving the likes of Black Leopards confined to the side-lines. As the season now draws to an end, this could be City’s swansong in the cutthroat business of elite football.