Gabadinho Mhango is expected to play after serving his six-match ban
Bidvest Wits will meet Bloemfontein Celtic Saturday in a Telkom Knockout (TKO) final in South Africa, with four Malawians expected to be involved in both camps.
Apart from Malawian Team Manager-cum assistant Coach, John Maduka, Celtic also have striker Atusaye Nyondo whereas Wits have Gerald Phiri Junior and Gabadinho Mhango.
Mhango is expected to play after serving his six-match ban for spitting at AmaZulu midfielder Michael Morton.
Wits have a unique record in the TKO as their title triumphs in the tournament came against Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in 1985 (2-1) and 1995 (1-0) respectively.
But wait‚ that is not the end of it.
The Clever Boys’ two defeats in the finals of this competition were also against Chiefs (2-1) in 1983 and Pirates (3-1) in 2011.
This piece of history plus the fact that Wits count the Mainstay Cup (1978)‚ BP Top 8 (1984‚ 1995)‚ Nedbank Cup (2010)‚ MTN 8 (2016) and the league title in 2017 among the honours they have had in their 96-year history makes them favourites in today’s TKO final against Bloemfontein Celtic.
But for Celtic’s stalwart Maduka‚ winning the TKO would be huge motivator for the players after their promising start to the season.
“For the players and the supporters‚ who I’m sure will travel with us in their numbers‚ winning this cup will be huge‚” Maduka said.
“We know our cup history is way behind when you compare it to Wits‚ but on the day that won’t be important.
“What will be critical is for our players to enjoy themselves while producing the result that will make all those associated with Celtic happy.”
Celtic‚ who will play Wits at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu‚ have the Mainstay Cup (1985)‚ SAA Supa 8 (2005) and TKO (2012) as the only major trophies they have amassed in their history.
Playing against a Wits side that lost against Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban in 2011—a year before they beat Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 at the same venue – should encourage Phunya Sele Sele [Celtic] to add a second TKO trophy in their cabinet.
Nigerian striker Benson Otiti’s 44th minute solitary goal gave Wits their last winner’s cheque in the TKO while playing against Pirates in 1995‚ while Celtic won it in 2012 via a controversial Joel Mogolosi’s header.—Sowetan newspaper, SA
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