Bloemfontein Celtic vs Mamelodi Sundowns
02:00 PM / Tue 08.09
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Reno 1868 vs Portland Timbers II
This is the premier cup competition in South Africa with amateur clubs having to play seven games just to reach the third round draw (entry point of PSL clubs).
The draw is always a lavish affair and throws up spectacles and potential banana peels.
Most PSL clubs are looking to avoid each other in the early draws as a decent cup run (and revenue) is their only likely chance of making an impact on the local soccer scene.
The Nedbank Cup offers prize money of R7 million for the winners and the boost to cash-flow means the club can sign better players for the following season and even qualify to play in the African Cup Winners League.
This trophy is the most coveted after the league campaign and many of the leading clubs in the country have prevailed in this competition.
There have been plenty of upsets over the past two decades with last season’s campaign an indicator of this phenomenon. Unheralded sides Free State Stars and Maritzburg United contested the final, with Stars triumphing 1-0 in a dour contest.
Free State Stars were on the brink of selling their status but the cash injection has meant a new lease of life for the owners and supporters. The Free State club were nearly eliminated in the quarter-finals, needing penalties to defeat third tier Ubuntu United.
Few bookmakers would have offered low odds on these teams contesting the final but the favourites were knocked out along the way. Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns (overwhelming favourites) were both knocked out in the semi-finals and that must have been a galling blow to supporters and management alike.
Chiefs are far in front of cup wins, with 13 trophies in their cabinet. Pirates are second on the list with eight trophies and Swallows and SuperSport United each boasting five.
Swallows, cup kings for many years were recently relegated to the third tier of SA football.
SuperSport United have been the most successful team over the past seven years with three trophies under their belt.