Phakaaathi’s Khaya Ndubane and Jonty Mark give their views on who will win on the day, and why.
Why Chiefs will win (Khaya Ndubane, Online Content Manager)
Stars have not beaten Chiefs in open play for almost six years now and I don’t see them breaking that poor run against Amakhosi tonight. They did have the better of Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals via a penalty shootout in 2016.
The beef between Luc Eymael and Steve Komphela is sure going to make this encounter very interesting, but history will show that Komphela has always done well against Eymael. In fact, Komphela has already taken four points from Eymael’s Stars this season. Ea Lla Koto held Amakhosi to a 1-1 draw at today’s venue, the Moses Mabhida Stadium, before suffering a 1-0 lost at home at Goble Park.
Having lost the league race, the Nedbank Cup is the only trophy left and Komphela and his Chiefs players know this fully well and they’ll go all out to win this cup, but before they do that they have to beat Stars tonight and reach the final. With all that said, I expect Chiefs to be too strong for Stars tonight.
Prediction: Kaizer Chiefs 2 Free State Stars 1
Why Stars will win (Jonty Mark, Phakaaathi Editor)
If Free State Stars head coach Luc Eymael does want to put his hand up for the Kaizer Chiefs job, there is probably no better way to do it than by taking down Steve Komphela’s Amakhosi in the Nedbank Cup semifinal on Saturday evening.
Eymael again denied this week that he had been contacted by Chiefs over the position, but Komphela’s time will surely be all-but-over with a defeat at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which will confirm a third successive season in charge without any silverware to show for his efforts.
Eymael has again displayed his acumen as a head coach this season as he has taken a Stars side that just about survived relegation in the previous campaign, and has turned them into a team that for a time mounted an unlikely challenge for the Absa Premiership title.
He has also taken Stars into this cup semifinal, where they will hope to upset the odds against Amakhosi on Saturday. Stars do have a pretty poor record against Chiefs – they have not beaten Amakhosi since 2012, though that was, ironically also the last time the two sides met in the Nedbank Cup, Dove Wome’s goal enough to give Ea Lla Koto the win in the quarterfinals.
I just have a feeling that Stars will take this one too, with all the pressure on Chiefs to finally deliver in the Komphela era. I expect a heated battle on the touchline (the Eymael rumours have added spice to his relationship with Komphela) and on the pitch, but am going to go for a Stars win, 2-1.
Prediction: Kaizer Chiefs 1 Free State Stars 2