Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama believes his boys have what it takes to go all the way in the Telkom Knock-out this season.

After spending just one season in the National First Division, the Lions of the North are enjoying a good run in top flight football.  They are currently eighth on the log with just one defeat after eight matches.

Da Gama knows how it feels to win the Telkom Knock-out.  He won the inaugural tournament with Platinum Stars back in 2006.

The 57 year-old coach has now turned Highlands Park into a formidable side.

Since making their return to the ABSA Premiership, the team has earned credible draws against the big three, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns in a short space of time.

Highlands Park take on Maritzburg United in the first round of the Telkom Knockout at the Harry Gwala stadium on Saturday evening.

Meanwhile pressure is mounting on the two Soweto giants, Chiefs and Pirates to end their trophy drought.  Bucs last won a trophy four years ago, while Amakhosi’s trophy cabinet has been standing empty for three seasons.  Pirates host Chippa United in Soweto on Saturday evening, while Chiefs clash with Black Leopards on Sunday.

Chiefs’ Giovanni Solinas says they will go out to win every trophy they complete in, including the Telkom Knockout. “I repeat,  we will compete to win silverware. Now we have the Telkom knockout, league, confederation cup in Africa, and the Nedbank. We fighting to try and win the trophy.”

Mamelodi Sundowns who have now won a record eight league titles, are not any better in cup competitions.  Besides the league title, the Brazilians have also spent two seasons without lifting any cup.

Sundowns will be at home to a tricky Bloemfontein Celtic this weekend.

The balance of power in cup competitions seem to have shifted in South African football.  The likes of Bidvest Wits, SuperSport United, Cape Town City and Free State Stars have won several trophies between them in recent years.