THERE is a vivid contrast in the fortunes between two influential figures on opposite ends of tomorrow night’s Telkom Knockout final between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
While Chiefs captain Siphiwe Tshabalala seeks to keep up an impressive winning record and edge closer to a record number of cup final appearances, Teko Modise looks likely to keep up his cup final hoodoo.
During the past two months, the influential playmaker has lost his place in the line-up and will have to wait to see whether Pitso Mosimane restores him to the Sundowns midfield.
His personal achievements include twice being named the Best Player of the Premier Soccer League season and captaining Bafana Bafana, but Modise’s illustrious career has delivered just a single cup winners’ medal — last May when Sundowns edged Ajax Cape Town on penalties in the Nedbank Cup final.
Before that, the 32-year-old Modise had finished on the losing side in a cup final five times.
It stands in stark contrast to the fortunes of Tshabalala, who is set to feature in his eighth cup final.
It will be his third final in the Telkom Knockout, with success in 2008 when Chiefs won on penalties against Sundowns and again five years ago, when Chiefs thumped arch-rivals Orlando Pirates 3-0.
The 31-year-old Tshabalala has also won two MTN8 finals with Chiefs and one in the Nedbank Cup three seasons ago.
He has five victories in seven finals for a 71% win ratio.
In the eight seasons that Tshabalala has been a Chiefs player, he missed just one final. That was in the 2009-10 season in the Telkom Knockout decider, which was played while Tshabalala was away with Bafana Bafana, preparing for the 2010 World Cup.
He did watch from the stands, however, as Chiefs defeated Ajax 2-1 in Durban.
Tinashe Nengomashe holds the record for the most cup final appearances in the Premier Soccer League era, having played in 12 for AmaKhosi. Thabo Mooki is next with 10.
Modise played for SuperSport United in their 2006 Top Eight Cup final loss to Chiefs in Durban and in the same tournament the next year for Pirates, when they were beaten by Sundowns.
He was also among the runners-up when Pirates lost 2-1 to Ajax Cape Town in the Telkom Knockout final at Chatsworth in 2008.
Modise left SuperSport just as they began their triple successive championship run and was dumped by Pirates midway through their league-winning season in the 2010-2011 campaign.
Pirates also played in two cup finals in late 2010, winning the MTN8 and being thumped by Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout, but by this time Modise had been sidelined at the Buccaneers by coach Ruud Krol and played no part in either game.
After his high-profile move to Sundowns, he played in two finals in 2012, when they lost to SuperSport in the Nedbank Cup and Bloemfontein Celtic in the Telkom Knockout.