Before the resumption of football in South Africa, there were murmurs that one of the most supported clubs in the nation would cease to exist but months later they stand in the way of the mighty Mamelodi Sundowns treble ambitions.
There are several facets to be aware of ahead of the Nedbank Cup final on Saturday afternoon, Pitso Mosimane’s side are buoyed after securing ‘La Decima’ – their tenth league title – and on the verge of a historic domestic treble.
Pitso Mosimane deserves all the plaudits coming his way but their opposition, Bloemfontein Celtic simply has overcome inconceivable obstacles to just complete the 2019/20 season, nevermind having the chance of silverware on the final day.
In May this year, it was widely speculated the club founded in 1968 would be sold to the highest bidder due to piling debts and maladministration over the past decade that has prevented the famed club from retaining their best players.
No pay, no play?
With several players not being paid their full salary or paid at all as each month went buy, head coach Lehlonhlo Seema, who defied odds for most of the season by steering the club within the top half of the Absa Premiership table opted to jump ship.
Moving on to domestic rivals Chippa United, known as the job with the least job security in the league under trigger-happy owner Chippa Mpangensi told it’s own story of the desperation the club icon had been thrown into.
Up stepped another legend, in the form of John Maduka who served as Seema’s assistant and the former Malawi midfielder continued their remarkable trajectory where the Free State-based side now finds themselves qualified for the 2020/21 CAF Confederation Cup.
Who wants it most?
For Sundowns, prestige, history, and perhaps a further dagger into the hearts of Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs fans are on offer today – while players like captain Hlompho Kekana and Themba Zwane are chasing legendary status.
However, Siwelele could change the entire outlook of the club’s future within 90 minutes with R7-million ($420 000) on offer should they do the unthinkable and topple the star-studded Brazilians at the Orlando Stadium.
A team comprised of several loanees but still packed with experienced campaigners like captain Ndumiso Mabena, former Chiefs midfielder Lucky Baloyi and Masansawanda youth product Wandisile Letlabika – it represents of a group of misfits that will not only be playing for the club’s future but their own too with the transfer window already open.
It’s likely the overachieving side will once again be broken apart to balance to books going into the new season but one final dance together could ruin the celebrations prepared back in Tshwane for Mosimane’s history makers.
Who will reign supreme? Only time will tell.