This Tuesday Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung celebrated his 75th birthday and Chiefs are hoping that it is not the only celebration this week as they start their bid for a first trophy in four years when they tackle Cape Town City in the first round of the Telkom Knockout competition tomorrow (3pm kick-off).
Last season was one of the worst in the club’s history as they finished ninth in the Premiership and lost the Nedbank Cup final to unheralded TS Galaxy, who became the first club from the second division to win the competition.
Under the stewardship of coach Ernst Middendorp, Amakhosi have dusted themselves off in the new campaign and are currently sitting comfortably on top of the log standings with 19 points after eight matches.
With the league a marathon that will come to an end in May, Chiefs get their first shot at redemption through the Telkom Knockout that commences this weekend.
Amakhosi will begin their TKO campaign at Cape Town Stadium, in a match that will be treated as the first step towards awakening the sleeping giant in honour of “Chincha Guluva”.
“I think in the last three, four months, the chairman has been wishing for more progress,” Middendorp said..
“And I think we as a team and club, have an obligation to do that for him.
“He’s somebody that has done a fantastic job by bringing this brand to such a high level in the past 50 years.”
Motaung may well be known as the cornerstone behind one of the biggest footballing brands on the continent, Kaizer Chiefs, but it was, in fact, at Orlando Pirates as a 16-year-old footballer that he made his breakthrough into the football fraternity.
And that is why the Sea Robbers will be hoping that some of that birthday magic rubs off on them as they search for a way out of their current troubled times.
Following a poor start to the league that has seen them fall from the dizzy heights of being deemed title contenders to a team that’s in a rebuilding phase, Pirates are looking for solace through the Telkom Knockout competition.
Tomorrow night (8.15pm kick-off), they’ll open their TKO campaign at home against rookies Stellenbosch FC, hoping to make up for being knocked out of the CAF Champions League and the MTN8 knockout competition.
Young coach Rhulani Mokwena, who took over the reins after the abrupt resignation of Micho Sredojevic at the end of last season, suggested that the time to appease ‘The Ghost’ (Pirates’ passionate fans) after a five-year drought, may have come.
“I need air to breath! Pirates need trophies,” Mokwena exclaimed.
“The most important thing for us is to serve the club and make sure that we do our utmost best to stop the (trophy) drought.
“A club of Orlando Pirates’ magnitude is one that deserves to win trophies week in and week out.
“That’s the responsibility that comes with being at Orlando Pirates.”