Kaizer Chiefs simply cannot afford to lose to the unheralded TS Galaxy at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday in the highly anticipated Nedbank Cup final (7pm kick-off).
Amakhosi have endured turbulent times this season and the one-time kings of South African cup football have yet to taste success.
The Glamour Boys missed out on the MTN8, Telkom Knockout and the Absa Premiership, so their only source of silverware now is Saturday’s encounter against the National First Division (NFD) outfit.
Chiefs were dealt a major blow at the weekend when they failed to finish in the top eight of the PSL. They were beaten by Chippa United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. It was only the third time in their history that they have not finished in the top half of the final league standings.
Chiefs won’t be a part of the MTN8 knockout competition next season and the Nedbank Cup is the only way they can salvage something from this underwhelming campaign.
Chiefs have endured torrid times in the past four years, having failed to win a single trophy in that period.
Amakhosi’s last piece of silverware was back in 2015 when they lifted the Premiership title under coach Stuart Baxter.
They succumbed to defeat against Ajax Cape Town and Mamelodi Sundowns in the finals of the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout respectively when Steve Komphela was still in charge at Naturena, so Chiefs are desperate to end their barren run of trophies.
Durban used to be a happy hunting ground for Chiefs but they have struggled in the past few seasons.
Last year Komphela was forced to resign after they were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup by Free State Stars. Amakhosi supporters were incensed and invaded the pitch and vandalised the stadium.
Chiefs also lost to Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final in 2014 in Durban.
On other hand, Galaxy are gunning to write their name in the history books.
No team from the NFD has ever reigned supreme in the country’s equivalent of the FA Cup, with the likes of Mpumalanga Black Aces, Pretoria University and Black Leopards all stumbling at the final hurdle.
Mpumalanga-based Galaxy have been the surprise package of the tournament and will be aiming to break the NFD hoodoo at Moses Mabhida on Saturday.
Coach Dan Malesela is looking for his maiden triumph in top-flight football, while his Chiefs counterpart Ernst Middendorp is on the verge of ending his trophy drought.
The German mentor has not won a cup in 13 years of trying.
The team that lifts the Nedbank Cup on Saturday night will pocket R7 million and qualify to play in next season’s Caf Confederation Cup – the continent’s second-tier competition.