Soweto derby headlines Nedbank Cup semifinals

Soweto derby headlines Nedbank Cup semifinals
Mduduzi Shabalala of Kaizer Chiefs challenges Innocent Maela of Orlando Pirates

by Graeme Jackson

Friday May 05, 2023. 11:00

A Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will headline the Nedbank Cup semifinals this weekend.

The Amakhosi and the Buccaneers will renew their rivalry on Saturday afternoon at FNB Stadium, while the second semi sees Stellenbosch FC and Sekhukhune United both looking to claim their first ever final berth when they meet at the Danie Craven Stadium on Sunday evening.

Chiefs have had the wood over Pirates in recent seasons, winning the last five successive league meetings of the teams, but they come into this match under major pressure.

The Amakhosi have lost two of their last three league matches to fall off the pace in the battle for second place (where Pirates have been thriving in recent weeks), and are desperate to win this clash and put themselves within touching distance of a first major trophy since 2015.

“Pressure is part of the game, especially when you are part and parcel of Kaizer Chiefs. You will have to deal with pressure week in and week out,” said coach Arthur Zwane. “So it is a case of mindset, but we have to keep going. We still have a lot to play for.”

Pirates’ Jose Riveiro, meanwhile, is eager to exact revenge for two 1-0 losses at the hands of Chiefs in the league this season.

“The fact that Pirates are in the semifinals will keep the competition interesting,” said the Spaniard. “I hope it is going to be good for all of us to have two good semifinals with good teams. With a lot of fans in the stadiums. Let’s see who’s the best one to go to until the end.”

Stellenbosch, who defeated league champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the previous round, will be favourites against Sekhukhune on Sunday, but coach Steve Barker is well aware of Babina Noko’s capabilities.

“It’s nice to have a home draw, especially with the way our home fans have been showing up recently,” said Barker.

“There’s a lot of physicality and experience in [Sekhukhune’s] midfield as well as defence. They are a very capable team and we have to be at our best to beat them and make sure that we get to the final.”

Sekhukhune have had to deal with a hectic schedule, which coach Brandon Truter has admitted as a major concern heading into the semifinal.

“We’ve got so much to play for.. the top eight and the Nedbank Cup. There’s a concern from the technical team, myself included, in terms of the amount of fatigue,” said Truter.

The winners of the two semifinal ties will meet in the final on Saturday 27 May at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane.

Nedbank Cup semifinal fixtures

Times CAT

Saturday 6 May

15:00: Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates

Sunday 7 May

18:00: Stellenbosch FC v Sekhukhune United

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