by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SEVERAL upstarts will seek to turn the tables on their more established counterparts when the Nedbank Cup, South Africa’s oldest and one of the most prestigious knockout competitions, kicks off next month.
The draw was conducted in Johannesburg on Thursday at the Nedbank head office in Sandton.
Eight clubs from the South African football Association (SAFA) structures – six of them making their debut appearance in the Nedbank Cup – were included in the Last 32 stage.
There are three additional new entrants in the competition from the first division GladAfrica Championship.
The launch and draw comes months after first division side, TS Galaxy, clinched the trophy after defeating Kaizer Chiefs, arguably the country’s biggest team, in the final held last year at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
“Last season’s Nedbank Cup had all the ingredients that have made this competition one of the most sustainable and relevant competitions,” said Premier Soccer League (PSL) acting Chief Executive, Mato Madlala.
She said the victory by TS Galaxy gave the cup’s true meaning as a David-vs-Goliath affair.
“As the PSL, we are excited about what is in store this year. We have a number of new faces in the 2020 edition and we hope they will add a new dimension to the competition,” Madlala said.
Galaxy will begin the defence of their trophy against top tier side, Chippa United. The standout fixtures will nonetheless be the Johannesburg and Pretoria derbies featuring Bidvest Wits versus Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns against Supersport United respectively.
Nthabiseng Matshekga, Nedbank Group Executive for Marketing and Corporate Affairs, said the Nedbank Cup continued providing a platform for teams from emerging leagues to lock horns with professional clubs to realise their football aspirations.
“TS Galaxy’s victory last year is proof of the enormous impact of the tournament on rising stars,” Matshekga said.
PSL and the sponsors will announce dates and venues in due course.
Nedbank Cup – Round of 16 Draw Results:
Polokwane City vs Baroka FC
Zizwe United vs Happy Wanderers
Stellenbosch FC vs Maritzburg United
Orlando Pirates vs Bidvest Wits
Amavarara FC vs Super Eagles
Vaal University of Technology vs Lamontville Golden Arrows
Chippa United vs TS Galaxy
Bloemfontein Celtic vs AmaZulu FC
Mbombela United vs Cape Town City
Black Leopards vs North West University
Mamelodi Sundowns vs SuperSport United
Kaizer Chiefs vs Royal Eagles
Highlands Park vs Uthongathi FC
Passion FC vs Real Kings
Ajax Cape Town vs TS Sporting
Jomo Cosmos vs Hungry Lions FC
– CAJ News