Chiefs, Sundowns look to avoid banana skins in Nedbank Cup

Chiefs, Sundowns look to avoid banana skins in Nedbank Cup
Stanley Nkoane, coach of Vaal University of Technology FC and Pitso Mosimane, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2020 Nedbank Cup Mamelodi Sundowns press conference at Nedbank Auditorium, Pretoria, on 20 February 2020 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Feb 21, 2020. 11:00

South Africa’s national cup competition, the Nedbank Cup, will hold its round of 16 over the next four days, with heavyweights Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns looking to avoid potential banana skins.

Chiefs, who fell to a surprise defeat against Maritzburg United last weekend to dent their league title ambitions, will face a tough tie away to Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with the match already declared a sell-out.

The Amakhosi have beaten the Lions of the North twice already this season, but Highlands boss Owen Da Gama is hopeful his team will raise their game for the visit of the Soweto giants.

“Chiefs have beaten us twice this season and it’s an opportunity for us also… but when you play a bigger team, a big team like Chiefs, it helps raise your standard as a team,” he explained.

“And we certainly look forward to this because it will help us raise our standard, and it will also help us in the league. So we are looking forward to this game.”

The last 16 round opens on Friday night in Thohoyandou, where Black Leopards will look to overcome minnows Amavarara, while Saturday’s other afternoon clashes feature an all second tier battle between Mbombela United and Real Kings, as well as Happy Wanderers looking to continue their fairytale run at home to TS Sporting at the Princess Magogo Stadium.

Saturday night features the second all-PSL clash of the round when Bloemfontein Celtic host Maritzburg United at the Dr Molemela Stadium, while another top-flight battle between Bidvest Wits and Chippa United wraps up the round on Monday.

In between, Sunday afternoon’s matches see top-tier teams Baroka FC and Mamelodi Sundowns at home to Hungry Lions and Vaal University of Technology respectively.

VUT caused the shock of the previous round when they defeated Golden Arrows and coach Stanley Nkoana believes his tactics will give the lower league team an edge at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

“Pitso [Mosimane] is a good coach. He is an experienced coach, a smart one. This will be my biggest challenge ever since I have been a football coach,” he explained.

“We are playing against African champions. In football, anything can happen. We will see on Sunday who has better tactics to win.”

Nedbank Cup last 16 fixtures

Friday 21 February

20:00: Black Leopards v Amavarara

Saturday 22 February

15:00: Highlands Park v Kaizer Chiefs

15:00: Happy Wanderers v TS Sporting

15:00: Mbombela United v Real Kings

20:15: Bloemfontein Celtic v Maritzburg United

Sunday 23 February

15:00: Baroka FC v Hungry Lions

15:00: Mamelodi Sundowns v Vaal University

Monday 24 February

19:30: Bidvest Wits v Chippa United

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