Former Kaizer Chiefs players, Rowen Fernandez and Fabian McCarthy reflected on Amakhosi’s victory against Manchester United in 2006.
Chiefs locked horns with the English Premier League giants twice in the Vodacom Challenge, losing 1-0 to United in the first round, though followed it up with a 2-0 victory over their neighbours, Orlando Pirates.
Amakhosi thereafter came up against the Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in the final at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in July 2006 where they beat the English giants 4-3 on penalties.
“The atmosphere was great, although it was probably the only time that we didn’t have the majority of the crowd behind us. There were so many red jerseys in the stadium, especially on the stand opposite the tunnel. We were certainly the underdogs against one of the best teams I ever played against. We had a strong defence, Cyril Nzama, myself and whoever was playing in the backline, we would always tell each other, ‘let’s not concede a goal.’ It became our motto. Nobody really wanted to go to penalties, but when it came to it, we felt confident. Our keepers always did well in saving at least one penalty, irrespective of who was in goal, Brian Baloyi or Rowen,” McCarthy said as quoted from Chiefs official website.
“Knowing the caliber of the opponents, their legendary coach, Alex Ferguson, on the sideline and with players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes featuring, it was important to focus on our first objective, which was not to concede a goal. Fernandez went on to say. At the time, we felt so confident in our penalty taking abilities. I had saved at least two penalties in each of the shoot-outs we had taken part in previous competitions. As a team, we were really a family. To beat a big team like Manchester United with my football family was something truly wonderful,” Fernandez added.