IT is that time of the year when clubs in the lower division get an opportunity of adding extra cash in their coffers via the Nedbank Cup.
The competition which is better known as Ke Yona is South Africa’s own FA cup version which sees 32 clubs, 16 from the elite league, eight from the National First division and eight more from the SA Football Association structure facing each other for the title which goes along with an incentive of R6 million in prize-money for the winner.
SAFA structures expected to produce its eight representatives few days ago while the NFD kicks-off its campaign on December 14.
The interesting match in the NFD preliminaries will be between title chasers, Blackburn Rovers who are expected to welcome the red hot Thanda Royal Zulu at the venue still to be decided.
Both clubs are currently at their best form and are lying second and third on the 16-clubs NFD log with 27 points each after 13 matches each. For the record the two sides are on the same level on points with log leaders, Pretoria University FC.
Royals coach, Thabane Gumede has since acknowledged that their opponents in these preliminaries are a very difficult side.
“This is going to be a very tough match. Rovers are no pushovers, and they have a good scoring rate after having scored 20 goals in 13 matches however there is a loophole in their defense which we will take advantage over them because they have been not doing well in this department after the club conceded 12 goals. We will throw anything on our disposal to make sure we emerged as winners come match day.” said Gumede
His counterparts at Rovers, Luxolo Matikinca was equally nervous about his team being draw against Royals.
“It is a fact that Royals is the most feared club in the NFD who are still to lose a match in the league, and I will be lying to say the match will be like a walk in the park for us. The fact that they have bagged 27 points like us should speak volume. Anyhow we will be prepared for them come match day, after all we are the only club which is still unbeaten in the league by far while they have already lost four times in the league,” pointed out the confident Matikinca.
Meanwhile all eyes will also be looking with keen interest as to how will Sello “Baby-Face” Chokoe who guided the Vodacom League side, Baroka FC to the semifinals of this competition perform this season. This time around the 29 year-old is goes to this match in a bigger platform as the coach for Atlie FC which has a date with the competition’s inaugural finalists, Mpumalanga Black Aces and it remain to be seen if he can repeat his fairy-tale by beating the bigger clubs.
“It is very difficult to predict what will transpire in this competition this time around, and we will cross that bridge once we are there. You see the different here is unlike at Baroka FC where I knew all the players for a long time, I am still trying to find myself settle here as a coach after Kenny Ndlazi left. But that should not be an excuse we are also a club with few experienced players who are capable of making things to happen,” said Chokoe.
Aces coach, Ceasar Maphalla said Ckokoe can say whatever he want to say, but they will do the talking in the field of play.
“Talk is cheap, I rather wait until the match day where we will prove ourselves in the field of play come match day,” said Maphalla.
The rest of the Nedbank Cup’s NFD preliminary fixtures are:
Witbank Spurs v FC AK, Sivutsa Stars v Carara, Bay United v Chippa United, African Warriors v FC Cape Town and Dynamos v University of Pretoria.