Kaizer Chiefs face bogey side Baroka in Nedbank Cup quarters
Kaizer Chiefs face a tough Nedbank Cup quarter final on Saturday against Baroka FC, a club who have built up a reputation as their bogey side, and who have deeply involved their club legends in affairs behind the scenes.
The Nedbank Cup appears to be Chiefs' last realistic hope of silverware this season as they seek to avoid an unprecedented third season in a row without lifting a trophy.
Even if they do win South Africa's version of the FA Cup, it might not be enough to save coach Steve Komphela, whose contract comes to an end in June. He knows all too well that it is league titles and not cup medals that count at Naturena.
However, for his own reputation, and as a coach who has never won silverware of any kind, it would be a big boost and allow him to at least go out on a high.
Komphela made some interesting comments this week, in a way suggesting that moving on from Chiefs was just part of the job.
"Personally, I don't want to lie to you, as a professional, I work 'in' football and I work 'for' Chiefs. The first thing that has to come to my mind is that I work for Chiefs, but I work in football," he told journalists.
"So, you can feel comfortable that you're working in the football industry but currently focused on Kaizer Chiefs."
It was hardly a glowing endorsement of his desire to stay in the job, and he added that a Nedbank Cup win would be more for the fans than himself.
"I would love to see the players win it for our supporters and, God willing, if all that could be or when that happens, I don't think you'll come to my place and see a medal, or whatever," he added. "I throw those things away myself."
Komphela says he has no expectation of winning silverware, nor is he looking for sympathy over his lack having managed it in the past.
"If you're looking at sympathy, you will always expect it, and you'll be living in pain; If you seek sympathy, you will forever be in pain because you expect some favour," Komphela said
"At the back of expectation, if it doesn't come, is disappointment, and disappointment is painful. So no expectations. We carry on with our jobs. We're professionals, we have a responsibility to perform our duties."
Baroka beat Chiefs in the 2011 quarter finals while still a third-tier side, and since then have risen through the South African football pyramid.
They recently acquired Chiefs legend Doctor Khumalo as their technical director and have been an improved side under his leadership.
Khumalo, who was at AmaKhosi up until the end of last season, also knows every minute detail about most of their players and will have the team well drilled to face the Soweto giants.
Baroka have only suffered one defeat to Chiefs in five previous meetings - the last time they met in the league in January - and captain Letladi Madubanya is confident of more success.
"We are playing against a good team, a good cup-playing team. We've lost the past game, but it's going to be a different ball game," he told journalists, as per Kick Off. "We respect Chiefs and their players, but hopefully we will be the victors on the day.
"It's always good playing against Kaizer Chiefs, but it's not the only team in the PSL. We still have six more games to go [in the league]. It's going to be a good game and hopefully the better team wins on the day."
Baroka are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions, which includes three wins.
"It's a confidence-booster that we have managed to go six games without a loss," he continued. "It's good for the team, it's good for the players who have been playing week in and out."
In the three other quarter-final matches, Maritzburg United will expect to beat Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday afternoon, even if influential captain Bevan Fransman is suspended.
National First Division side Ubuntu Cape Town, the only lower league side remaining in the competition, host top-flight Free State Stars at the Athlone Stadium at the same time.
Stars are without Belgian coach Luc Eymael in the dug-out after he was suspended for two matches by the Premier Soccer League for an altercation with AmaZulu's David Phiri last month.
Finally, on Sunday, there is a mighty clash between Cape Town City and Mamelodi Sundowns at the Cape Town Stadium, pitting Benni McCarthy against Pitso Mosimane once more.
The score between the two men is currently 1-1, with both sides having managed away wins in the league.