PART 2: PSL League Cup from 2001 – 2005


In Part 2 of our Telkom Knockout history, we focus on the tournament editions from the early 2000s. What was known as the Rothmans Cup changed to the Coca Cola Cup in 2001 due to the new rules regarding tobacco sponsorship in sport (Rothmans was a tobacco manufacturer).

In hindsight, the Cup could have been renamed the Chiefs and Cosmos Cup and that would have been fitting. Such was the dominance of the two clubs during this period. Where Chiefs and Sundowns battled for supremacy in the late 90s, the early 2000s featured a tense Chiefs-Cosmos battle. By the time sponsorship changed to Telkom in 2006, the two sides had occupied seven out of ten available finalist positions in the Cup.


The tone for this mini-rivalry was set in 2001, when Chiefs beat Cosmos 5-0 in the final to win the 2001 Coca Cola Cup. This was their third league cup title in the first six PSL seasons, meaning they won 50% of the available league Cup trophies, a trend that would continue for the foreseeable future. Chiefs won a treble this season including the BP Top8 and African Cup Winners Cup, and were even crowned CAF Club of the Year.

5 – The 5 goal margin in the 2001 Coca-Cola Cup final is the biggest winning margin for a final in this tournament during the PSL era.


Cosmos got their revenge the following season, beating Chiefs 1-0 in the final. Tico-Tico Bucuane scored the only goal of the game in one of the most controversial finals in the PSL era. Two decisions stood out, Tico-Tico Bucuane’s winning is still considered by many to have been offside. And then, Jabu Pule was denied a late penalty which really angered Chiefs fans, causing the game to be paused for half an hour as skirmishes ensued. VAR would have probably reversed both decisions. 


In 2003, the rivalry was cut short when Cosmos were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Wits. Had they won against Wits, and the draw stayed the same, they would have clashed with Chiefs in the semis. Instead, Chiefs met and beat Wits in the semis, leaving Free State Stars as their opponent in the final. Second half goals from Stanton Fredericks and Patrick Mayo were enough to give Chiefs a 2-0 triumph.

4 – This was Chiefs’ 4th victory in the tournament in the PSL era, at a time when no other side had won more than one. Till today, no other side has more than three.


Kaizer Chiefs were relentless in this period, and were the defending league & Coke Cup champions. They  lifted the 2004 Coke Cup, beating Pitso Mosimane’s SuperSport 1-0 in the final thanks to Collins Mbesuma’s goal. This was the 5th time they won the tournament in the PSL era. In fact, this final was Chiefs’ fourth successive Coca Cola Cup final, and they are still the only PSL side to reach four successive finals of any competition.

3 – Although they lost the 2004 Coke Cup final, Pitso Mosimane’s SuperSport were the first PSL side to appear in all three major domestic finals in the same season.


Chiefs and Cosmos would meet yet again in the 2005 tournament, this time in the quarters. Cosmos won 2-0, went on to dispatch Pirates 1-0 in the semis and won the final beating SuperSport 4-1 in a penalty shootout. This was Cosmos’ 3rd Coke Cup final in 5 years and their 2nd title. Only Chiefs (8) & Sundowns (3) have won more League Cups than them in the PSL era. 

5 – Despite losing out to Cosmos, the 2005 Coke Cup final was Supersport’s 5th successive major domestic final under Pitso Mosimane, making them the first PSL side to reach five major domestic finals in a row.

The 2005 Coke Cup tournament was the 10th of its kind in the PSL era, but also the last one sponsored by Coca Cola before sponsorship switched to Telkom.

In the end, only four sides appeared in the five Coca Cola Cup finals between 2001 and 2005 (Chiefs Won 3 Lost 1, Cosmos W2 L1, Silver Stars W0 L1 and SuperSport W0 L2).

By Opta Jabu

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