First-half goals from Lebo Ramolesa and Terrence Mandaza eventually ensured Stars tournament victory after they edged Mamelodi Sundowns on penalties in the semi-finals.
Ramolesa smashed in the opener, profiting from a superb Sibusiso Msomi pass in the 24th minute while Mandaza turned expertly to ram in the second from some good work from Joseph Molongoane.
But it was Tokelo Rantie’s superb equaliser right at the death which earned the striker that rising forward acclaim from the fans.
In the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t a match for either of the two sides to die for, as it has traditionally been the case with such “keep-fit” tournaments.
But the mere fact that this was a four-team competition in recognition of a political icon gave it the semblance of respect and importance. Pirates’ line-up for the final match suggested coach Julio Leal was more concerned with giving as many of his fringe players a chance to impress than the result itself.
However, none of the 11 starting players stood out in the first half in which the Buccaneers fell behind to two superb Stars’ goals.
Whereas he stuck with his regulars in the semifinal match, in which they defeated Bloemfontein Celtic on penalties, Leal rested his jewels for the final to afford the bench-warmers a rare appearance.
Losing, however, has seemed Leal’s biggest fear so far this season and sensing a setback, he threw in his cavalrymen Lucky Lekgwathi to shore up a shaky defence and Benni McCarthy to whip the Bucs’ blunt attack into shape but that amounted to nothing.
MEC for Sport in North West, Humulani Chauke says the tourney will be an annual event, which is meant to identify the province as a sporting hub.
He also made a specal made a plea to the people of NW, to lend support behind the tourney.
This follows poor attendance of fans at the stadium.