Free State Stars and Dikwena battle for Maize Cup final spot

Free State Stars and Dikwena battle for Maize Cup final spot
Teboho Mochadibane of Platinum Stars and David Vilakazi of Free State Stars during the 2017 Maize Cup Launch on 27 June 2017 at Protea Hotel Klerksdorp © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Friday Jul 14, 2017. 12:00

Platinum Stars will target Free State Stars' scalp when the two Premier Soccer League outfits battle to reach the Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup final on Saturday morning.

The opening semi-final of the one day tournament between the two sides presents a chance for either team to reach the final as they will want to raise the bar during their pre-season.

With a new technical team led by coach Peter Butler and assistant coach Milton Dlamini, the hosts will want to retain the trophy.

Stars will also bank on their CAF Confederation Cup participation as they will hope to have an advantage on their counterparts.

They failed to reach the knockout stages of the CAF tournament after drawing three matches and losing three matches, but meeting a familiar enemy is different at home.

Coach Butler will want to forge new combinations ahead of the 2017/18 Premier Soccer League campaign and also introduce new players such as Maboke Matlakala and defender Sibusiso Mthethwa.

“They have a new coach, we also have a new coach and you must also remember we are still fresh from our CAF Confederation Cup campaign,” said Dikwena spokesman Tebogo Mochadibane.

“We have not stopped playing competitive football, we want to achieve a lot by bringing in these youngsters whom we have used in CAF.

“We hope to give them more time on the field and ensure they learn, we want to play in the final and beat FS Stars.

“They (technical team) will help him accelerate him in the job, but the most important thing to do is to reach the final and whoever we meet in the final.

"We must ensure we emerge as victors and lift the trophy as hosts.”

Looking at the Bethlehem-based outfit, Ea Lla Koto will also look to make a statement in their debut appearance of the one day tournament come Saturday.

They are also set to unleash a new technical team in coach Sammy Troughton and their right hand man in Seloatse Mosala.

Troughton has managed to oversee their appearance at the Dihlabeng Spectacular Tournament in Clarens, Free State where they lifted the trophy.

They beat Lesotho Premier Division sides, Ditshilo FC (6-2) and Sandawana FC (6-1) and players such as Mohammed Anas and Danny Venter will be key for the side.

Furthermore, Stars will also bank on the fact that they use James Motlatsi Stadium as their alternative home in the Premier Soccer League.

The opening semi-final will be staged at the James Motlatsi Stadium on Saturday, 15 July in Orkney at 10:00.