Kaizer Chiefs Muhsin Ertugral said he had won the “minds games” over his Mamelodi Sundowns counterpart Trott Moloto and delivered them a sucker punch that helped Amakhosi lift the inaugural MTN 8 cup final played at a packed Absa Stadium on Tuesday night.
Chiefs edged out favourites Downs 4-3 on a penalty shootout after neither side had managed score after extra time.
Chiefs have now beaten Sundowns seven out of seven times they have met in a cup final. Said Ertugral: “I told Trott at the pre-match press conference that I expected him to play a 3-5-2 formation and use Benedict Vilakazi behind the strikers.
I could not believe my luck when I saw Vilakazi’s name on the substitute’s list. I was really worried about the threat posed by Vilakazi in the midfield. Instead he played a 4-4-2 system that suited us. I was delighted the way it worked out.”
Ertugral described the game as “the final of missed chances”.
It also underlined the “sickness” of South African soccer where players fail to score goals when it matters most at club and Bafana Bafana level. However, Ertugral was honest to admit his side were lucky to win the cup.
He said: “Downs are a quality side. They should have beaten us as they had more clear cut chances in 90 minutes.
But we had two easy chances late in extra time. But I was not complaining. I am thrilled that we won against such a top class side.
“I believe Sundowns will be up there challenging for the other silverware on offer this season as they really do have a quality squad of players.
That is why beating them in a major final like this one is a big achievement for us. It shows that Chiefs are back in business and are still the cup kings of South African soccer.”
Chiefs went home smiling all the way to the bank after collecting the winner takes all R8 million winner’s cheque. Downs received R800 000 appearance money. The same as the other six losing sides in the competition received.
Ertugral was also surprised to see former Chiefs star striker Collins Mbesuma in the Downs starting line-up.
The Zambian striker joined the Brazilians in the pre-season but has been overweight, not fully match fit and reported late last week after playing for Zambia in the recent 2010 African Nations Cup qualifiers. Said Ertugral: “When I saw Mbesuma starting the game I figured we were in with a chance as there is no way he can be fully fit.
He lacks pace at this stage and we tried to play him so that we could tire him out. He was not a threat to us.”
Mbesuma scored 35 goals and helped Chiefs win the PSL championship in 2005 before playing in England, Portugal and Turkey where he failed to command a regular place in the starting line-up at any of the European clubs he joined after his success with Chiefs. But Ertugral admitted he had problems of his own to solve. He said: “Everyone here saw that we lacked punch in attack. I need to sort that out.” Ertugral is banking on his injured striker Kaizer Motaung junior returning soon to partner Jose Torrealba.
“But,” said Ertugral, “I will be travelling soon to south America. I will be hoping to visit Argentina, Chile Venezuela and Bolivia to scout for young new blood. I have always admired Argentinean soccer and I will start there. Argentina have won the World Cup and recently the Olympic Games gold medal.
There has to be a lot of young talent for me to look at and try and bring to Chiefs to beef up our attack.”
Chiefs captain Jimmy Tau praised Ertugral’s sensible tactics and pep talk before the game: “The coach told us what to expect. He made us aware of the importance of keeping a cool head and what we had to do.
I am delighted we won.” Tau said that due to Ertugral’s tactics his players held their ground against the favourites.
“We never panicked when they were driving us back. We had confidence we could hold them. We made mistakes but managed to rectify them and go on and win a tense penalty shootout.”