Who will win the Telkom Knockout?
Cape Town - The people who most enjoy cup finals are the ones who aren't, in any way shape or form, affected by the result.
These include neutrals, your girlfriend who hates any type of sports, and infants who don't have the neurologic capabilities to comprehend the game of soccer.
Others like supporters, owners, coaching staff, and players of the team involved will have a nerve-wracking 90 minutes (or 120 minutes+) to contend with.
The Telkom Knockout will reach its climax on Saturday evening when Bidvest Wits take on Bloemfontein Celtics at the Princess Magogo Stadium.
Struggling Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits have an opportunity to, at least, grab one trophy this season as their prospects of retaining their league title look unlikely. Bloemfontein Celtic have the chance to win a long overdue cup to add to their cobweb infested trophy cabinet. Who will be lifting the Telkom Knockout trophy come Saturday night?
Bidvest Wits are at the bottom of the Absa Premiership table with nine points. They have scored just six goals (2nd lowest in the league) and have conceded 15 goals (highest in the league).
In the Telkom Knockout, however, the form of Gavin Hunt's men has been the complete opposite. Wits have let in only two goals and have scored six in their three games in the tournament. Not only that, but you could argue that Wits have had the tougher journey to the final, where they’ve played solid mid-table team Free State Stars, log leaders Baroka FC, and Kaizer Chiefs.
Under coach Veselin Jelusic, Bloemfontein Celtic have been performing reasonably well this season. Sitting 8th on the table, Celtic are far better than the team they were last season, where they were only one point away from finishing in the relegation/promotion playoffs.
Sure, Veselin Jelusic's football isn't glamorous, some may call it pragmatic (*cough* boring) and I have spent a few afternoon's dozing off in front of the TV whilst Bloemfontein Celtic was playing. Despite all this, Jelusic has been getting the job done.
Bloemfontein Celtic last 10 games
LDWWWWLWWD (60% win rate)
Bidvest Wits last 10 games
DLWWLWWLWL (50% win rate)
Prediction: Bidvest Wits to lift the trophy 5/10
Given their record in this season's Telkom Knockout and their history in cup competitions Bidvest Wits are still the betting favourites at 1.10, with Celtic trading at 2.90 at BET.co.za.
I feel both teams have a fair chance to win this game because they aren't prolific scorers. One moment of magic or pure luck can break the deadlock and the team with the lead should go on to take the title.
On October 1, Celtic beat Wits by a goal to nil in the league so they may have the psychological edge. Celtic don't offer much going forward but are tough at the back, where captain Wandisile Letlabika's main duty is to make crucial tackles and to hurt people.
Wits have been in a cup final more recently than Celtic and their experience
will be an advantage. Don't make plans for later because this game may go the
whole way to extra-time and even maybe penalties. My crystal ball, though, tells
me Bidvest Wits will be victors.