No hard feelings ... Former fan, Milford FC boss Xhanti Pupuma doesn't feel sorry for Kaizer Chiefs

Hundreds of fans gathered Soccer City for the Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates

File. Though he grew up as a fan of Kaizer Chiefs, Milford FC chairman and coach Xhanti Pupuma had no problem dispatching his old allegiance to see off the Soweto Giants in their Nedbank Cup clash. Seen here: Kaizer Chiefs fans cheer on their team. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 26, 2024

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Though he grew up as a fan of Kaizer Chiefs, Milford FC chairman and coach Xhanti Pupuma had no problem dispatching his old allegiance to see off the Soweto Giants in their Nedbank Cup clash on their home turf at FNB Stadium on Sunday.

Though they dominated the match, Chiefs could not find a goal during regulation time and then extra time.

It meant the sides went to penalties, and the National First Division (NFD) outfit emerged 5-4 winners.

In fact, Chiefs completely dominated their foes in terms of possession and shots at goal but still could not find a breakthrough.

Loyalty firmly with Milford

After the match, Pupuma said his loyalty had been with Milford FC for some time.

"I'm a football fan more than a Chiefs fan. Yes, I grew up following Kaizer Chiefs, just like I grew up in an environment where a certain party was the majority [supported] party, from a political point of view," said Pupuma.

"Later on in life, things change, you grow a little bit older and [there are] new developments around you, so it's impossible that I would have a team and be a fan of another team – even worse so when we bought the professional status.

"So, really, I had to be aligned and show that I put all my energy towards Milford Football Club, which is what I think we are doing as a family, and make no mistake about it – no one is hurt at home right now, it's absolutely crazy.”

Pupuma said his side approached the clash with a clear strategy.

Taking risks

"We came in and we were just solid enough, trying to work on the counter; when we could keep the ball, we kept the ball and tried to penetrate," detailed the coach.

"[Not] how we normally play, but this being a cup game, you always want to take a bit of risk here and there, and I think in the first half there were are or moments where we were a little bit fortunate, we couldn't really get the balance going so they stretched us a little bit.

"But we brought in some boys during half-time to stabilise the midfield more so, and I think from there it was just anybody's game.”

“It’s actually a pity we couldn’t really play our game because we lost our shape. I’m offensive-minded, I attack life so we concentrate more on ball possession and create more space. Win or lose, we will always play like that.”