BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa, May 09 – A fortunate goal enabled TTM to edge Chippa United 1-0 in Bloemfontein on Saturday and lift the South African FA Cup just seven months after buying top-flight status.
Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo seemed overly ambitious when he unleashed a shot from well outside the box toward Ugandan goalkeeper Ismail Watenga in the 27th minute.
But his attempt deflected off the head of Burundian centre-back Frederic Nsabiyumva and landed in the corner of the net at a cold Free State Stadium.
It was the only goal of a final that produced few clearcut chances with Katenga and opposite number, Zimbabwean Washington Arubi, seldom troubled.
Second division outfit TTM — short for Tshakhuma Tsha Manzivhandila and coached by former Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr — bought the franchise of disbanded Bidvest Wits after failing to win promotion last season.
After several months of poor results and chaotic administration, the ownership of TTM changed and Maltese coach Dylan Kerr joined the club based in northern city Polokwane.
But the 54-year-old could not operate from the touchline until he received a work permit this week, and won his first match in charge four days ago.
“All my players were heroes tonight. We dug deep to keep Chippa at bay and deserved to lift the trophy,” he said.
“There will be little time to celebrate, though, as we continue our fight to avoid relegation with a match this Wednesday.”
Serb coach Vladimir Heric said a poor start contributed to Chippa from eastern Cape city Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) failing.
“We did not exist for the first 30 minutes, but were a different team in the second half, dominating possession but lacking penetration.”
Chippa introduced Cameroonian Bienvenu Eva Nga and Liberian Anthony Laffor off the bench to try and bolster the attack, but they made little impact.
TTM pocketed seven million rand (Sh53mn) for winning the final and qualified for the 2022 CAF Confederation Cup, the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.