Callies and Chippa battle for historic Nedbank Cup final spot

Pretoria Callies and Chippa United will do battle for a place in the 2021 Nedbank Cup final when they meet at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday afternoon.

Kick-off is at 3pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

Both teams are seeking a first ever appearance in a Nedbank Cup final. Callies will be aiming to do so just a few months after winning promotion from the ABC Motsepe League while Chippa have come close to achieving this feat on three previous occasions.

The Romans booked their spot in the final-four with wins over fellow GladAfrica Championship clubs Royal AM (1-0), JDR Stars (0-0, 5-4 on penalties) and Cape Town All Stars (2-2, 7-6 on penalties).

Callies, who sit in 11th spot on the second division standings, have changed coaches during their run to the semi-finals with Joel Masutha having taken over the reins from Sammy Troughton, after having suffered a dip in league form.

“We are looking forward to a very difficult match against a DStv Premiership side, which is never going to be easy. You have to fight to get that victory,” Masutha, who previously served as a head coach of Chippa, said.

“We are also a new team, the new kids on the block and we would like to make history in our first season in the GladAfrica Championship. We will give our all to play for the win and hopefully the result will be on our side.”

Chippa beat 2018 champions Free State Stars (2-2, 6-5 on penalties), Cape Town City (2-1) and second division leaders Richards Bay FC (2-1) enroute to the semi-finals of this season's competition.

They too have changed coaches in build-up to the fixture with Siyabulela Gwambi appointed on an interim basis after the Chilli Boys parted ways with Dan Malesela.

Chippa have struggled in the DStv Premiership of late and head into the Nedbank Cup fixture in 15th spot on the league standings having failed to win any of their last nine top-flight matches.

"The balance is always there because, despite the fact we have done well in the Nedbank Cup, we must acknowledge that we are still in the danger zone [in the league]. If we try to save some players for the league at the expense of the Nedbank Cup, that is a danger too," said Gwambi.

"The approach should be, let the players play in the Nedbank Cup, we are also preparing them for the league games to come.

He added: "Our approach [for Saturday's match] is very clear, let’s go there, go all out and play our attacking football that we normally play."

The winner will face either Mamelodi Sundowns or Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in the 2021 Nedbank Cup final.

Chippa duo Kurt Lentjies and Isaac Nhlapo are both suspended for the clash.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Pretoria Callies

Itumeleng Lesu: The Callies shot-stopper has helped his team to back-to-back penalty shoot-out wins and could play another integral role in his club's pursuit of a first Nedbank Cup final appearance. If Lesu is able to make a few vital saves, it could breath confidence into those around him and take them closer to victory.

Pogiso Mahlangu: The midfielder has bagged two goals in three Nedbank Cup games this season, including the winner over Royal AM. Mahlangu will be eager to build on his record with another as Callies eye history.

Chippa United

Augustine Kwem: The burly forward will be eager to fire his team into a first Nedbank Cup final and add to the goal he scored in victory over Cape Town City. Kwem has scored two in his last three league appearances and will be aiming to carry that form into the Cup as the Chilli Boys set their sights on a maiden final appearance.

Riaan Hanamub: Incredibly, Hanamub has started every game for Chippa across all competition this season, both in the league and Nedbank Cup. He could be key in providing width down the flank against a Callies side that could be tempted into sitting back and trying their luck on the counter against their more illustrious opponents.