Premiership sides wary of lower division teams in the Nedbank

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DSTV Premiership clubs admit it is often a tricky prospect facing lower division sides in the Nedbank Cup. This week, some of the big names in domestic football will have to navigate their way past so-called smaller clubs in the round of 16.

Despite this, Orlando Pirates are determined to go all the way and defend the trophy they won last season.

The biggest upset in the first round of this season’s tournament was when National First Division side Milford F.C. beat Soweto Giants Kaizer Chiefs.

It’s often the story of the Nedbank Cup because South Africa’s version of the FA Cup is the only opportunity amateur clubs have of testing themselves against professional teams.

But TS Galaxy remain the only side from the lower divisions to have lifted this trophy. It happened five years ago when they too beat Chiefs in the final. And it’s for that reason that Orlando Pirates are wary of their next opponents, Hungry Lions, who hail from the Motsepe Foundation Championship. The two teams clash in Soweto on Saturday.

“Games are coming thick and fast but luckily they have the whole week to prepare for their next match. It’s good that we are playing at home immediately after the derby understanding that this is a knockout match. Our opponents play in the second tier and we know the history of those teams in the competition,” says Jose Riveiro, Orlando Pirates coach.

Having lost out on the MTN 8 trophy this season, the Nedbank Cup provides Mamelodi Sundowns with one last opportunity of success in a domestic knock-out tournament. Sundowns will be at home against another National First Division side, Maritzburg United on Sunday.

“We are meeting a good team with PSL experience who are also playing against a former PSL coach. They have players who with PSL experience so it’s not going to be easy. We have to make sure that we are ready mentally,” says Rhulani Mokwena, Mamelodi Sundowns coach.

T.S Galaxy, meanwhile, would want to repeat what they achieved whilst still campaigning in the second-tier league in South Africa. But they’ll have to deal with amateur side D’General FC from the ABC Motsepe League. The Rockets must travel to the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Sunday for their second-round match.

“On paper this should be an easy match, but it will not be easy. we went to Bloemfontein and drove for four hours to see how our opponents play. We have also watched videos of the team, but we will do everything to go all the way and reach the final,” says Sead Ramovic, TS Galaxy coach.

And SuperSport United want to revive their historic Nedbank Cup form and go all the way. They travel to Durban for their match against fellow DSTV Premiership side, Richards Bay FC, at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“They are happy to be still in the competition, but they will be facing a tricky side that is lying ast the bottom of the league. they are a very good side and sometimes you wonder why they find themselves low on the league table. they will obviously want to use the Nedbank cup to try and turn the fortunes of the team around,” says Andre Arendse, Supersport United goalkeeper coach.

In other round of 16 matches involving topflight clubs and teams from lower divisions, Moroka Swallows travel to the University of Pretoria, Milford FC host Stellenbosch and Chippa United are at home against Ravens FC.