Lucky number 11, chasing 12

Nedbank Cup

And if Orlando Pirates beat Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League, Klate will make it 12 medals.

Talking’s Zola Doda, the winger talks about all the winners’ medals he has won in his professional career so far.

Daine Klate’s winners’ medals

2004 SAA Supa8 (SuperSport 1 Chiefs 0)

I had just been promoted from the SuperSport United Under-19s and I was just the part of the squad, I didn’t break into the first team as yet. That’s why the value of this medal is not that much compared to others. But it was the kick off to my career and I was just delighted to have a winners’ medal around my neck. Although I didn’t contribute and the meaning of it is not that fulfilling, it is still the one that kicked off everything.

2005 Absa Cup winner (SuperSport United 1 Wits University 0)

After the SAA, we went to the Coca-Cola Cup Final against Kaizer Chiefs in Bloemfontein and that’s when I actually played a part. Unfortunately we lost that game after Collins Mbesuma scored the winner but that was my first final.

The Absa Cup, the semi-final was very important because it was a game when we beat Santos 5-0 and I scored the first goal and won man of the match. This is the first competition where I felt I contributed immensely. But unfortunately I didn’t get time to celebrate with the team because after the Final I had to leave with the Under-23 team for the Toulouse tournament in France. But this was my first one where I contributed.

2007/08 League champion

The first League title ... at the beginning of the season we had a shocking start after new coach Gavin Hunt took over. We struggled in the first five matches and we were second from bottom. But we bought into the coach’s philosophy, and in the last match of the season we had to get a result, I think against Bloemfontein Celtic. We struggled in that match and I’ve never felt such pressure.

It’s one thing playing one match and having to win it and it’s another story when you have to play 29 and the 30th being a must win. We ended up losing that match but fortunately Ajax Cape Town didn’t get the result in Durban against Golden Arrows and we won the League. That is how the League goes, you can start badly but it’s about how you finish the season.

2008/09 League champion

The second one was similar to the first one and we competed against Orlando Pirates. Our last match of the season this time was against Santos in Cape Town – we had to play for a draw take the League. Pirates had to beat AmaZulu by a big score and we drew 0-0. We managed that and it was a better feeling winning the League back to back because you show people that you didn’t win the League by fluke.

2009/10 League champion

The third one was the cherry on top, this is the season I enjoyed myself the most. It was a condensed season because of the 2010 Fifa World Cup and we had to play matches on weekends and midweek all the time. But I loved it; I scored 10 goals and I was consistent right through. I played a good part in making sure the League stays with SuperSport United for the third time and we got to keep the trophy.

2010/11 MTN8 winner

(Orlando Pirates 1 Moroka Swallows 1, after extra time)
[Orlando Pirates win 4-2 on penalties]

I had just joined Orlando Pirates and made my debut in the quarter-final of the completion against Santos and scored the winning goal. During the Final against Moroka Swallows, we scored and conceded an equaliser, and the thought that Orlando Pirates hadn’t won a trophy in years started to come back.

But I told the guys that it’s not over, it’s still in our hands, but unfortunately it went all the way to penalties. I took the first penalty because I wanted to show the guys I wanted to add value and make the team win. Fortunately Lucky [Lekgwathi] scored the last penalty. This trophy helped me a lot because a lot of people had doubts and I had doubts as well because I left a winning team SuperSport United to join Pirates who hadn’t won anything in a while. But that is what life is about, challenges.

2010/11 League champion

My first League title and fourth in a row was very special. I played half of the season and the other half I was injured and I didn’t make the type of contribution I would have loved to make. But this is not about me it’s about Orlando Pirates the team and I was there supporting the team when Isaac Chansa scored that winning goal against Golden Arrows, while Ajax Cape Town were held to a draw by Maritzburg United.

Once again I was there at the right time and in the winning team. If someone had said to me that in four years I was going to win four League titles in a row I wouldn’t have believed it.

2010/11 Nedbank Cup winner (Orlando Pirates 3 Black Leopards 1)

I remember this one because I was still recovering and the guys had great momentum having won the League title the previous week. We went a goal down but I knew the guys would come back and win because that was the story of that season. I didn’t play at all in this competition that season but I was happy to see the guys winning the trophy.

2011/12 MTN8 winner (Orlando Pirates 1 Kaizer Chiefs 0, after extra time)

Defending the trophy was good for us as a team, and I have had the two jerseys from the finals framed, which is really nice.

Benni [McCarthy] did not play in this Final because he was suspended or injured, but I gave him my medal because I already had one.

2011/12 Telkom Knockout winner (Orlando Pirates 3 Bidvest Wits 1)

We went into the match with a lot of pressure because we had never won this competition before.

There were lots of emotions and Bidvest Wits had already beaten us the previous week, so there was a lot of pressure. However, we were extremely motivated and ended up beating them 3-1 and winning the trophy for the first time ever.

2011/12 League Champion

Winning the League title the fifth time in a row – I was really ecstatic. I know that David Kannemeyer has also won five League titles but no one has done it five times in a row and that is special. Hopefully there’s more to come but probably one day when I have stopped playing and reflecting back on my career I will still regard five League titles in a row as a special achievement. I’m blessed in that.

The special one ...

My first medal, I didn’t contribute that much but it was special because it was the first. The Absa Cup was the first real one because I contributed a lot. But to choose one I think my third League title with SuperSport United is the most special because it remains my best season. The coach [Gavin Hunt] said to me before the season started that if I score 10 goals we will win the League and that is exactly what happened. And I also won the Player of the Season.

Possible medal number 12 against Al Ahly ...

I think the CAF Champions League would be absolutely special not only for me but for the club. It’s a dream that everyone has had in this club since 1995, to get that second star in the badge. And personally as well, I would have won everything there is to win in local football. But I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch because going to Al Ahly is going to be tough because they have experience of dealing with this kind of situation.