The stage has been set, with Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium playing host to the final, as both Bakgaga and The Buccaneers look to end 2018 on a high with victory.
Underdogs Baroka may be struggling in 14th spot on the Absa Premiership standings, but have enjoyed a stellar run in this year’s Telkom Knockout, where they are yet to concede in the tournament.
A 2-0 victory over Golden Arrows was followed by a surprise 2-0 defeat of Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarter-final, before a 1-0 win over defending champions Bidvest Wits secured Bakgaga the first cup final spot in their history.
The Limpopo-based team know they will be up against it though: they’ve lost both their last two clashes against Pirates in the league, having lost 2-1 at home back in September. And in their five match-ups overall they have never tasted victory, drawing 1-1 on the other three occasions. Neither team has kept a clean sheet in their five previous meetings though, with Oscarine Masuluke’s superb overhead kick in stoppage time securing a late 1-1 draw in November 2016 in the pair’s first-ever meeting.
The Buccaneers are back in a cup final for the first time since their 4-1 loss to SuperSport United in the 2017 Nedbank Cup, and are desperate to improve on their dismal Telkom Knockout record: they’ve reached eight TKO finals in the past, but only won one, beating Bidvest Wits in the 2014 final, which was their last taste of silverware across all competitions.
Pirates reached this year’s final after beating Chippa United 1-0 in the last 16, before needing extra-time to overcome AmaZulu 3-1 in the quarter-final. They then beat Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in the last four, with Thembinkosi Lorch registering his name on the scoresheet for his third goal of the competition, as he became the leading scorer.
Pirates have not lost a match in their last 15 games across all competitions, but did have to travel back from Seychelles midweek after dispatching Light Stars FC in their CAF Champions League qualifier.
Both Wedson Nyirenda and Milutin Sredojevic are gunning for their first trophies in South African football, with the Bucs desperate to earn silverware for the first time in four years.
Kick-off in Port Elizabeth is set for 18H00.