DStv PremiershipTop Stories

‘He played injured’: Milford coach on goalie Hleza after Chiefs heroics

Milford FC coach and owner Xanti Pupuma has revealed that goalkeeper Siphamandla Hleza played while battling an injury to become the architect of the club’s giant-killing act over Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup.

While Pupuma, a doctor by profession, masterfully orchestrated Milford’s performance, it was their goalkeeper, Hleza, who became the real “giant slayer” at FNB Stadium on Sunday night.

Hleza’s outstanding display helped Milford steal the show from the mighty 13-time Nedbank Cup champions – Amakhosi, leaving coach Pupuma overflowing with praise for his star player.

Though Chiefs dominated possession and created numerous goal-scoring opportunities, they couldn’t get past Hleza. The latter made several important saves, including stopping a Ranga Chivaviro penalty in the first half of extra time.


Siphamandla Hleza of Milford FC in action against Kaizer Chiefs
Siphamandla Hleza/Picture courtesy of Kaizer Chiefs

The match went to penalties, where the first-time participants in the Nedbank Cup, Milford, secured a 5-4 win after a goalless draw in 120 minutes of action.

Hleza, who scored the winner in the shootout and extinguished Chiefs’ eight-year trophy drought dreams, walked away with the Man of the Match award.

“It’s a pity that you guys only get to see him now; I have known him for years; he is insane,” said Milford coach Pupuma.

“He [Hleza] is a typical modern goalkeeper; he can even play as a striker if he wants to. So, he makes us complete. Believe it or not, he is actually playing injured; he injured his finger on Monday.

“But we rested him for the week because, without him, we are not really the same, we don’t look the same, we don’t play like we want to play, so tonight [Sunday], he just showed everybody else what I already know.

“I’m glad; I’m happy for him; I want him to enjoy this moment; it’s been coming. I mean, he has been through a lot, but he is a boy I know from way back; I’m super happy for him.”

RELATED STORY: Chiefs knocked out of Nedbank Cup 

Back to top button