The Nedbank Cup gets underway today officially, but for NFD teams on Saturday. With none of the NFD sides drawn against each other it will be interesting to see if the second tier outfits can cause an upset or two amongst the big guns from the PSL. Six NFD sides play against PSL opponents in the first round proper, while the other two face teams from the lower leagues. Three matches involving NFD sides will be played on Saturday, one on Sunday and the final four all on a Supa Wednesday
FC CAPE TOWN v BAROKA
It has been seven years since FC Cape Town last won a match in the Nedbank Cup, and that victory was a memorable one as the Cape side beat Kaizer Chiefs 2 – 0 in the Round of 16 before losing on penalties to Bidvest Wits in the Quarterfinals. The Cape side take on a team that was once feared for their giant killing exploits in Baroka FC. The Limpopo side did the unimaginable in 2011 when as a SAFA team beat a then great Swallows side in the Round of 16 and then Kaizer Chiefs in the Quarterfinals before losing to Black Leopards on penalties after extra time. Last season Baroka, then in the NFD, beat Chippa, Arrows and Polokwane City on their way to a semifinal 0 – 2 loss against eventual champions Supersport United. FC Cape Town and Baroka have met twice in the Nedbank Cup, both times in the qualifying stage and the Cape side came out top on both occasions. In 2014 FC CT won 1 – 0 & a year later by a more emphatic 3 – 0. Both sides are struggling in their respective leagues going into this match with FC CT 13th in the NFD & Baroka bottom of the ABSA Premiership.
JOMO COSMOS v UNITED ROVERS
Former winners and four times runner/up Jomo Cosmos will fancy their chances of progressing to the Round of 16 when they play Northern Cape Castle League side United Rovers at the Tsakane Stadium on Saturday. Cosmos played in three finals in a row in this competition in the early 90’s. After winning the Bobsave Superbowl against Amazulu in 1990, Cosmos then lost in the final against Moroka Swallows in 1991 and again in 1992 against Kaizer Chiefs. Their other runner-up spots were in 1986 against Mamelodi Sundowns and in 1996 to Orlando Pirates. Cosmos have also won the Coca Cola Cup in 2001 and 2004 and the SAA Supa 8 in 2002. Cosmos are currently 5th in the NFD, unbeaten at home and fighting for a place in the PSL next season.
STELLENBOSCH UNITED FC v KAIZER CHIEFS
Newly named Stellenbosch FC will have to be on top form to beat the most winning cup side in South African history on Saturday. While the former Vasco Da Gama have enjoyed some success in this competition, including a quarterfinal loss to Black Leopards in 2011 and a semi-final defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns in 2015, they don’t quite have the same pedigree as the 13 time champions and 5 time runners-up Amakhozi. Both sides are currently 4th in their respective leagues.
DAYS FC v MBOMBELA UNITED FC
Although Mbombela United have not been in the best of form recently, the Mpumalanga side will be prepared for victory in their trip to the Free State and a first round clash with SAB League side Days FC. Mbombela lost to Sundowns in the round of 16 last season, but that was in a season where Mbombela finished 3rd in the NFD and made the Promotional Playoffs. This season their form has been inconsistent, the side is 12th on the log after 20 matches and they haven’t won on the road all season.
CHIPPA UNITED v WITBANK SPURS
Midtable NFD outfit Witbank Spurs will travel to Port Elizabeth to meet former NFD champions Chippa United in one of four matches being played on Wednesday. The teams met four times when Chippa were in the NFD, with the Eastern Cape side winning 3 of those meetings. The two sides have never met in the Nedbank Cup. Spurs have never been passed the round of 16, where they have been on four occasions. Chippa lost to the then NFD side Baroka in Round 1 last year.
ROYAL EAGLES v SUPERSPORT UNITED
Royal Eagles face a tough opponent in defending champions Supersport United in Round one of the Nedbank Cup. Both sides are in third place in their respective league campaigns and in good form at the moment. Established in 2009 as Sivutsa Stars in Mpumalanga, the side were runners-up to Chippa United in the final of the then Vodacom League in 2011 earning promotion to the NFD. Royal Eagles bought the franchise of Sivutsa in 2014 and moved the side to KZN. Eagles have never been past the first round of the Nedbank Cup. Supersport United won this competition for the first time in 1999 and have gone on to win it four times in total.
PLATINUM STARS v AMAZULU
Former PSL giants Amazulu face a potentially tough trip the Moruleng stadium and a meeting with Platinum Stars on Wednesday. That is because the home side have hit a rich vein of form in recent weeks with three wins in a row after a slow season thus far. Neither side have ever won the Nedbank Cup, but the KZN have been runner-up on six previous occasions including three in a row back in 1972, ’73 and ’74. Platinum Stars lost in Round two last season, while Amazulu bowed out in the opening round.
CT ALL STARS v BIDVEST WITS
All Stars will be looking to cause a cup upset when they host PSL title chasing Bidvest Wits on Wednesday. Only established in 2010, All Stars won the ABC Motsepe League title in 2014 to earn promotion to the NFD. The Cape side finished in the top half of the table in the NFD in both 2015 & 2016, and struggled in the beginning of the current season with coaches coming and going. However, the team appear to have settled down in 2017 under Patrick Mabedi, are unbeaten in five outings and have yet to concede a goal. Bidvest Wits won the Nedbank Cup in 1978 and again in 2010, and are side in good form. The Milpark based outfit are top of the ABSA Premiership coming into this match. All Stars have never been past round one in the Nedbank Cup.
SATURDAY 11 MARCH
KwaDukuza vs Ajax Cape Town@ 15h00
Buya Msuthu vs Bloemfontein Celtic @ 15h00
Free State Stars vs Highlands Park @ 20h15
SUNDAY 12 MARCH
EC Bees vs Orlando Pirates @ 15h00
Acornbush vs CT City FC @ 15h00
Golden Arrows vs Maritzburg United @ 15h00