Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
IT’S a big evening for Zimbabwean duo, Elvis Chipezeze and Talent Chawapiwa, as their South African side Baroka United come face to face with mighty Orlando Pirates in the R14 million Telkom Knockout final at the Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth.
While the Sea Robbers also have two Zimbabweans in Marshal Munetsi and Kuda Mahachi, it is the pedigree of Baroka United’s opponents that make Chipezeze and Chawapiwa the focal point as they, like their club, will be making a maiden appearance in a major cup tournament in South Africa.
The former Chicken Inn goalkeeper, who was voted the 2017 Zimbabwe Goalkeeper of the Year has been in devastating form for Bakgaga and just like Chawapiwa has featured in all the three knockout games of the tournament.
Baroka United booted out Golden Arrows 2-0, scored a quarter-final upset by knocking out Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 before a 1-0 semi-final win over Bidvest Wits saw them storm into their maiden final in dramatic fashion.
For their part the Buccaneers beat Chippa United 1-0 in the last 16, hammered AmaZulu 3-1 in the quarterfinals to set a date with long time rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the semifinals of the tournament.
Amakhosi, despite taking an early first half, could not last the distance as they eventually lost 1-2 to their bitter rivals.
Winners of tonight’s duel will walk away with a cool R4 million while the losing finalist will bank R1,5 million.
According to media reports from South Africa, Baroka players and technical team have been promised half of the winners or losing finalists’ prize money.
Baroka boss Khurishi Mphahlele confirmed that the club will go 50/50 with the players and the technical team regardless of the result in their first major cup final appearance, according the Sunday Times.
“We have agreed with the players and the technical team that we will go 50/50‚” said Mphahlele.
“They have done well to reach the final and this shows that we are heading in the right direction.
“When I see the team play‚ I can see that we are progressing well and this is proved by the fact that we are in the final.
“Playing in the final with the whole country watching will be good for the confidence of the players for the remainder of the season and also for our brand,” Mphahlele is quoted saying.
Baroka are under the tutelage of Zambian national Wedson Nyirenda.