Bidvest Wits and Bloemfontein Celtic will do battle for the right to be crowned 2017 Telkom Knockout champions, when they lock horns in the final of this year’s competition at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu on Saturday evening.
Kick-off is at 6:00pm.
The Clever Boys have endured a terrible start to their league campaign, but have got things right in the TKO thus far and progressed to their first League Cup final since 2011 after overcoming Free State Stars, Baroka FC and Kaizer Chiefs in the first three rounds of the competition.
Last season’s Absa Premiership and MTN8 champions are aiming to clinch what would be a third League Cup title, to add to the trophies they won in 1985 and 1995.
Siwelele won their only Telkom Knockout title five years ago, beating Mamelodi Sundowns in the 2012 showpiece.
Phunya Sele Sele will be aiming to add to that triumph following victories over SuperSport United, Platinum Stars and Polokwane City – the first and third matches were decided by post-match penalties, as they now set their sights on holding the TKO title aloft once more.
This TKO final will be the 11th cup meeting between Wits and Celtic since 1985. The first 10 were dominated by the Clever Boys, who claimed eight outright wins (plus one via penalties) and suffered just one defeat.
The teams’ last knockout clash was in the first round of the 2016 Nedbank Cup, with the Johannesburg side winning 1-0 at home thanks to a goal from striker James Keene, who helped the club into the showpiece with a headed strike against the Amakhosi in the semifinals of this year’s competition.
Phunya Sele Sele and Bidvest Wits have been regular adversaries over the years and have gone head-to-head on 66 occasions across all competitions. Their most recent clash ended in a 1-0 win for the Free State outfit in early October, thanks to a goal from Roggert Nyundu.
Predicted Starting 11:
Bidvest Wits: Keet; Hlanti, Mkhwanazi, Hlatshwayo, Frosler – Mlambo, Monare, Ntshangase, Klate – Keene, Gamal.
Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb; Pfumbidzai, Letlabika, Ndengane, Rikhotso – Baloyi, Phalane – Hotto, Mahlasela, Mabena – Nyundu.
Head-to-Head Statistics (since 1985):
PREVIOUS CUP MEETINGS
Season Cup Result Scorers
1986 BP Top 8 quarterfinal Celtic 0-1 Wits Own goal
1989 BP Top 8 quarterfinal Celtic 1-2 Wits Mokitlane; Moosa, Shongwe
1989 Ohlsson quarterfinal Celtic 1-3 Wits Serathi; Rowbothan, Mudie (pen), Shaw
1990 JPS 1st round Wits 4-0 Celtic Tinkler 2, Bwalya, Kossef
1999/00 R’mans 1st rd 1st leg Wits 0-2 Celtic J. Arries, Matsau
1999/00 R’mans 1st rd 2nd leg Celtic 1-2 Wits Kukame, Maulgue, Magalefa
2013/14 MTN8 quarterfinal Wits 3-0 Celtic Vilakazi, Kebede, Faty
2013/14 Nedbank Cup qfinal Celtic 1-2 Wits Nyatama; Vilakazi, Shongwe
2014/15 MTN8 quarterfinal Wits 0-0*Celtic
2015/16 Nedbank Cup 1st rd Wits 1-0 Celtic Keene
*Wits won on penalties
LAST 10 LEAGUE RESULTS
Season Result Scorers
2012/13 Celtic 3-0 Wits Mogorosi, Gamildien, Manzini
2013/14 Wits 3-1 Celtic Pattison, Chapman, Kadi; Mogorosi
2013/14 Celtic 0-1 Wits Kadi
2014/15 Celtic 0-1 Wits Motshwari
2014/15 Wits 0-1 Celtic Lamola (pen)
2015/16 Wits 0-0 Celtic
2015/16 Celtic 2-1 Wits Morena, Nyatama; Pelembe
2016/17 Celtic 1-2 Wits Nyondo; Monare, Mhango
2016/17 Wits 3-1 Celtic Hlatshwayo, Mkhwanazi, Mhango; Mahlasela
2017/18 Celtic 1-0 Wits Nyundu
P W D L GF GA
Wits 10 8 1 1 18 6
Celtic 10 1 1 8 6 18
OVERALL RECORD (all competitions)
P W D L GF GA
Wits 66 31 16 19 93 66
Celtic 66 19 16 31 66 93
What They Said:
Bidvest Wits defender Buhle Mkhwanazi:
“We really need to redeem ourselves with this trophy honestly because we started badly, [this season]” said Mkhwanazi.
“Winning this trophy will really give us a confidence booster as a team and as individuals to say we are still good and can’t be written off just like that.
“We really need to give our all and push and the results will come our way.”
Bidvest Wits captain Thulani Hlatshwayo:
“Celtic are the favourites,” said Hlatshwayo.
“Celtic has been doing well. They have a lot of speedy and skilful players. We have to make sure that we bring our A-game on the day.”
“Sometimes if you look at the history, teams that are not doing well in the league end up winning trophies. Looking at where we are, it’s easy for them to underestimate us because we have not been doing well in the league. But as a team we have to make sure we bring silverware.
Bloemfontein Celtic head coach Veselin Jelušic:
“Of course, it is my ambition to win this cup to repeat the feat of my predecessors,” said Jelušic.
“I’m counting on the high motivation of the players to help win this cup. Cup experience in some players will be very important. Our team knows how to achieve good results so far. “
Bloemfontein Celtic striker Jacky Motshegwa:
“It is going to be a difficult encounter against Wits,” said Motshegwa. “We are working hard to win this cup as we did in 2012. The coach is encouraging us. It is not elementary to reach cup finals. We’ve work hard as the team. It all about teamwork at Celtic. Our character will be tested in this match.
“Wits are the favourites and we are the underdogs. They have more experienced players than us. They have players in their squad who have tasted what it is like to win the Telkom Knockout. They have also won other cups.”
Amr Gamal: The Egyptian forward has had an immediate impact in Braamfontein and will now be hoping to land his first title on South African soil, following the success he achieved at Al Ahly. The mobile forward plays an integral role for Hunt’s men – not only in finishing off chances, but also in creating space in behind the defensive line. Hunt will be hoping that the forward will net another important goal as Wits eye more silverware.
Reeve Frosler: The fullback has enjoyed a stellar rise since breaking into the Clever Boys first team and will be aiming to continue on that trend as the club set their sights on more silverware. Thulani Hlatshwayo and Buhle Mkhwanazi’s return to fitness will come as a major boost to the club, but Frosler plays just as pivotal role. His attacking movement not only gives the club width, but he often finds himself in goal-scoring positions within the penalty area.
Deon Hotto: The Namibian wing-wizard is Siwelele’s main source of creativity with his speed and trickery causing South African defenders all sorts of problems. The Free State side will be looking to the wide man to spark them into life on the KwaZulu-Natal coast as they aim to bag their first piece of silverware in five years.
Patrick Tignyemb: The Phunya Sele Sele captain and undisputed No 1 goalkeeper, has played in integral role in Celtic’s TKO success thus far. The Cameroon national, who has been at the club for almost a decade, will be aiming to keep a clean sheet as he aims to further enhance his status as a Celtic great. Not only does he play a key role in pulling off saves, and marshalling the defence – Tignyemb also takes it upon himself to convert from the spot if the game were to go the distance!