BIDVEST Wits demolished Mamelodi Sundowns 3-0 to lift the MTN8 Cup at a packed Mbombela Stadium, in Nelspruit yesterday.
Daine Klate was the hero on the day as he scored twice and created the other goal for Eleazar Rodgers to ensure Wits win the Wafa Wafa trophy that has eluded them for the past 21 years.
The win brought joy to The Students fans who last won a trophy in 2010 when they lifted the Nedbank Cup.
The victory also brought a huge relief for Wits coach Gavin Hunt as it was his first trophy since he joined the club three seasons ago.
This was the second time he reached the final of the competition having lost to Moroka Swallows 2-1 in 2012 while in charge of SuperSport United.
This was the first time both teams clashed in the Wafa Wafa final since 1990 where Downs beat Wits 5-0 on aggregate over a two legged match. Wits were eager to end Downs dominance over them in cup matches with the Tshwane Giants now having claimed eight victories in eleven meetings compared to two wins for The Students.
Downs came into the match with a healthy league record over their opponents as they beat them twice last season 4-2 in the first round and 1-0 respectively.
Wits players looked sharp as they had rested for ten days after their league match against Orlando Pirates was cancelled due to students fees must fall protest.
Downs had only a five days rest following their Caf Champions League semifinals 3-2 aggregate victory over Zambian side Zesco United at Lucas Moripe Stadium last week.
Downs coach Pitso Mosimane made two changes to his starting line-up with defender Ricardo Nascimento replacing Thabo Nthethe, while striker Sibusiso Vilakazi had the nod to face his former club ahead of Percy Tau who was on the bench.
The pitch was slippery due to heavy rain that poured a few minutes prior to kick-off making it difficult for players to control the ball. Wits caught Downs defence off-guard as early as the first minutes when winger Daine Klate broke the ice with a low shot from the edge of penalty box after Mosimane’s side had failed to clear Sifiso Hlanti’s terrific cross on the left flank.
Downs players were a bit frustrated as they struggled to play their quick short passing game due to the wet surface with Wits players winning most of the tussles.
Rodgers increased the tally in the 20th minutes when he slid the ball into the net following a telling cross from Klate on the right flank.
Downs came back strong after the break, but Wits keeper Darren Keet ensured that the score remained the same with incredible saves to deny Tiyani Mabunda’s goal bound header.
Klate grabbed his second goal of the day in the 62nd minutes when he converted Rodgers great cross to the delight of their fans.