Former Orlando Pirate Coach Fadlu Davids, believes the Soweto Derby loss was the perfect stepping stone that pushed the Buccaneers over the line to win the MTN8 final yesterday.
Arguably the hottest property in South African football at the moment, Monnapule Saleng, scored a 25-minute stunning free kick to hand Pirates a 1-0 win over AmaZulu at a sold out Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Davids, who recently had a stint as assistant coach at Russia super giants Lokomotiv Moscow, said Pirates showed a lot of character to bounce back from the painful Kaizer Chiefs loss last weekend, by winning their first trophy of the season.
“The Orlando Pirates squad depth was key to this victory. The club has built an impressive squad over the years, and the results are starting to show. I mean, they were missing their captain Innocent Maela through injury, as well as Nkosinathi Sibisi at the back. Upfront they are still missing Thembinkosi Lorch. These are very big players for the club, and Thapelo Xoki, who has not played in five or six games, came in and filled that gap nicely,” said Davids.
He believes that the Soweto giants have built a strong enough team that will not only win trophies, but also dominate South African football in the not too distant future.
“Remember, Pirates have been in three cup finals in the last calendar year, including reaching the CAF Confederation Cup final. The signs are right there that the club is on the right path. I would really want to commend all involved, especially the chairman Irvin Khoza on a job well done. They deserve the win,” he said.
The Ghosts have now won the MTN8 an impressive second time in three years, making it their 11th Wafa Wafa title in total, just one less than fierce rivals and record holders Kaizer Chiefs. It is also the fourth time that Orlando Pirates have won the trophy in the MTN sponsored era that began in 2008.
The former Orlando Pirates and Maritzburg coach also had glowing words for AmaZulu, a club he described as a “wonderful work in progress.”
“It would be unfair to say AmaZulu were outplayed. They really had a good game with the difference being the spectacular free kick from Saleng. He was the difference in a game that they also had a fair number of chances,” he said.
Usuthu were hoping to be only the second KZN club to win the lucrative Wafa Wafa trophy, following the 2009 heroics of Golden Arrows who thrashed Ajax Cape Town 6-0 to bag the R8 million winner’s cheque.
“AmaZulu are deserved finalists. Remember, they knocked out Kaizer Chiefs to book a place in the final. That is no small feat. KZN football certainly has in the past few years been on the up. Fantastic owners have come on board at clubs like AmaZulu and Royal AM. In fact, Royal AM are also doing well in the Confederation Cup in Africa. It’s only a matter of time before they get the silverware to show for the great investment,” said Davids.