Giant-killings on the cards in the Nedbank Cup?

Giant-killings on the cards in the Nedbank Cup?
Gv of the trophy during the 2024 Nedbank Cup Supersport United Press Conference at the PSL Offices, Johannesburg on the 19 February 2024 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Thando Mpembe

Tuesday Feb 20, 2024. 11:29

Giant-killings could be on the cards in South Africa’s Nedbank Cup, as the Last 32 round is played from Tuesday 20 to Sunday 25 February.

The first such example arrives on Tuesday night when reigning DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns head to second-tier NB La Masia for a clash at the Dobsonville Stadium.

The Brazilians are obviously heavy favourites, but La Masia – under the guidance of former Premiership great Daine Klate – will see the clash as a chance to promote their club and players to a wider audience.

Ideally, it is a platform for us,” said La Masia CEO Rashid Toffie. “I said to the players that they get to create their own luck in terms of where they want to go as a footballer. I’ve told them to use this platform to showcase their talents.”

Tuesday also features probably the pick of matches in the Last 32 and one of just four all-Premiership clashes, as SuperSport United and Cape Town City cross swords at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Wednesday sees lower league teams Highlands Park and University of Pretoria looking to secure home wins over top-flight Sekhukhune United and Cape Town Spurs respectively, while Thursday brings an all-top-flight KwaZulu-Natal derby between AmaZulu and Royal AM – with Thwihli Thwahla coach John Maduka more than happy to be facing familiar opponents in Usuthu.

Playing against AmaZulu in this cup game, it’s fine because it’s an opponent that we know,” said the Malawian.

Sometimes, it’s very difficult that we play against a team that we don’t have the idea of. With AmaZulu or any PSL team, it’s a team that we play week in and week out against each other. We see them, they see us week in and week out. So, it becomes okay for us to prepare.”

A busy weekend opens on Friday evening with the third all-Premiership match, as Golden Arrows and TS Galaxy rematch from their league clash just five days prior, while Saturday also pits top flight clubs Richards Bay and Polokwane City against one another.

The weekend’s main focus will fall on the fate of Soweto heavyweights Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs. Pirates, the defending Nedbank Cup champions, will be in action on Saturday afternoon against Mpumalanga minnows Crystal Lake FC (who were only recently confirmed for the round after a protest from Middelburg United in regards to the teams’ preliminary match).

Chiefs, who boast a record 13 National Cup titles but have not won any major silverware since 2015, will be at home to second-tier Milford FC at the FNB Stadium on Sunday evening.

As an upcoming team, we are excited for the opportunity to compete against such a respected opponent,” said Milford founder and chairman Dr Xanti Pupuma. “

It is an honour to share the pitch with them. We are eager to learn from this match and use it as a stepping stone for our development.”

The 16 winning teams from this round will advance to the Last 16, which is scheduled to be played in mid-March.

Nedbank Cup Last 32 fixtures

Times CAT

Tuesday 20 February

19:00: NB La Masia v Mamelodi Sundowns

19:00: SuperSport United v Cape Town City

Wednesday 21 February

19:00: Highlands Park v Sekhukhune United

19:00: University of Pretoria v Cape Town Spurs

Thursday 22 February

19:00: AmaZulu v Royal AM

Friday 23 February

19:00: Golden Arrows v TS Galaxy

19:00: Stellenbosch FC v Pretoria Callies

Saturday 24 February

15:00: JDR Stars v Hungry Lions

15:00: Platinum City Rovers v Moroka Swallows

15:00: Ravens FC v Spain FC

15:00: Crystal Lake FC v Pirates

18:00: Richards Bay v Polokwane City

Sunday 25 February

15:00: D’General FC v Madridistas FC

15:00: Maritzburg United v Paarl United

15:00: NC Pros FC v Chippa United

18:00: Kaizer Chiefs v Milford FC

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