South Africa’s Nedbank Cup continues this weekend and next midweek, with ‘David v Goliath’ clashes headlining the remaining 12 matches in the Last 32 round.
With just three all-DStv Premiership ties – Maritzburg United v Kaizer Chiefs on Friday night, Stellenbosch FC v Swallows FC on Saturday, and Cape Town City v Royal AM on Sunday – there are decent chances of ‘Cupsets’ elsewhere in the fixture list.
Golden Arrows, for example, look vulnerable to a surprise result at the hands of second-tier Pretoria Callies – especially with Abafana Bes’thende having lost four of their last five matches (including successive losses to TS Galaxy and Royal in which they conceded a combined six goals).
Orlando Pirates will also be wary when they tackle second-tier All Stars at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday night.
The Buccaneers succumbed to a narrow 1-0 loss at the hands of Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend, but have otherwise put in some impressive performances of late and will need to quickly put down the challenge offered by their hosts to build back some momentum.
“If we manage to play at this level, we are not going to lose a lot this season. We will continue the process in the future and be stronger than we were,” said Pirates coach Jose Riveiro.
On Sunday, top-flight clubs AmaZulu and TS Galaxy will expect to triumph in home matches against Tornado FC (from the Northern Cape region of the ABC Motsepe League) and Amavarara (from the Eastern Cape region of the ABC Motsepe League) respectively.
Usuthu have played to three 1-1 draws against Marumo Gallants, Richards Bay and Maritzburg United since they thrashed Kaizer Chiefs 4-0 in mid-January, but coach Romain Folz believes an improvement in their mentality and attitude bodes well ahead of this potential banana skin in the cup.
“We fought. Last week we fought and got a draw when they equalised against us. This time we are the ones who equalised,” he said in the wake of their clash with KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg.
“This is a win for us in terms of mentality. We will take the one point but we deserved more. Even when I re-watch the game I know I will have that feeling that we deserved to win.”
Galaxy, meanwhile, need to improve their attack, according to coach Sead Ramovic: “We try in every stage of our game to improve and I am absolutely clear about one thing, I’m really proud of myself and proud of my players because from the first day I came this group of players always try to improve,” said the Bosnian.
“Every training is intense and everyone wants to improve. You can see clearly that all of our players have improved. We need to improve our offensive game.”
The Last 32 will be completed next Tuesday, 14 February, when Polokwane City host Chippa United for the final match of the round.
Nedbank Cup weekend & next midweek fixtures
Friday 10 February
15:00: Cape Town Spurs v Baroka FC
19:30: Maritzburg United v Kaizer Chiefs
Saturday 11 February
15:00: Black Cross v Venda Football Academy
15:00: Golden Arrows v Pretoria Callies
15:00: Mpheni Home Defenders v Clarewood JPM
15:00: Stellenbosch FC v Swallows FC
20:00: All Stars v Orlando Pirates
Sunday 12 February
15:00: AmaZulu v Tornado FC
15:00: Mkhambathi FC v Casric Stars
15:00: TS Galaxy v Amavarara
18:00: Cape Town City v Royal AM
Tuesday 14 February
19:30: Polokwane City v Chippa United