Minnows to show character in the Ke Yona Cup

sundowns-championsBy NAKAMPE LEKWADU

THE 9th edition of the Nedbank Cup kicks off on the first weekend of March with 32 clubs battling it out for the place in the last 16 round.

While most of the Premiership sides looked to have been lucky to be drawn against the so-called minnows, it was not an easy one for the Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates after they were pitted together in the first round.

Chiefs and Pirates’ Nedbank Cup fixture’s confirmation happened just two days before their league clash (tomorrow at the FNB Stadium), their third encounter within a short space of three months this season. Pirates won the first clash, 3-1 which was a league match on October 31 last year before Chiefs could beat them 6-5 (via penalties) in the semifinals of the Telkom Knockout a week later (November 7)

In another interesting draw, AmaZulu were pitted against Jomo Cosmos. Ironically, Cosmos were promoted via the National First Division (NFD) Promotion/Relegation Play-Offs few weeks after AmaZulu were relegated to the NFD.

Also returning for action against the big guns is relegated Moroka Swallows who will be up against SuperSport United.

The competition’s defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns (pictured) were lucky to have been drawn against the club next to their head quarters in Thembisa after being drawn against Highlands Park.

Dubbed as Mzansi’s FA Cup, the tournament is one of Africa’s most lucrative cup competition with a prize pool of more than R20 million. Now in its ninth edition, the Nedbank Cup will continue to enable teams, players, aspiring footballers, the bank’s clients and communities to make the things that really matter happen.

’Football is a lot like managing your finances. You must have a goal, be committed, work hard to attain it, and find the right team to enable you to realise that goal.

“This is why we continue to sponsor this competition. It gives us the perfect opportunity to connect with clients and the communities we serve, and demonstrate how we can enable them to make the things that really matter happen,’ said Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank.

Like the previous years, it remain to be seen if the minnow clubs will cause any major upset by eliminating some of the big guns out of the competition along the competition’ stages.

The rest of the fixtures are: Polokwane City v African All Stars, EC Bees v Magesi, BidVest Wits v Bloemfontein Celtic, Ajax Cape Town v Free State Stars, Santos v Mthatha Bucks, Maritzburg United v Black Leopards, United Rovers v Mpumalanga Black Aces, University of Pretoria v Polokwane City Rovers, Chippa United v Baroka, Golden Arrows v Milford, Sibanye Golden Stars v Mbombela United and Steenberg United v Platinum Stars.

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