Nedbank Cup : Where anything is possible
The above-mentioned clubs are the only teams from outside of the PSL still left in the 2016 Nedbank Cup competition, which enters the last 16 phase this weekend.
Magesi FC are the only Second Division outfit still standing, while Baroka FC, Santos and Mbomela United are the three NFD representatives.
David versus Goliath
For Magesi FC, it does not get much bigger than Friday night, when they travel to Johannesburg take on a Bidvest Wits side packed with international stars and currently lying second on the Absa Premiership table. But they can take heart from the likes of Baroka FC and Maluti FET College, who while both still campaigning in the Second Division, inflicted defeats on Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates respectively.
Mbombela meanwhile have made several appearances in the Nedbank Cup round of 32 before, having qualified via the SAFA play-offs. This year however will be the first time that they play in the competition as a First Division outfit, having earned promotion last season.
Of the three NFD clubs, both Santos and Baroka FC have considerable pedigree in this competition. The Peoples’ Team, who face Free State Stars at Athlone on Saturday night, won the tournament (under its previous guise) on two occasions – 2001 and 2003. As previously mentioned, Baroka (who take on Golden Arrows) know all about upsetting the applecart, having beaten Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in the 2011 last eight, thanks to goals from Samuel Ndlovu and Thobani Mncwango, Knowledge Musona netting for AmKhosi.
Previous Upsets, notable Cup runs
In 2008, Mpumalanga Black Aces, then still campaigning in the First Division Inland Stream, went all the way to the final, where a solitary goal by Lerato Chabangu won the game for Mamelodi Sundowns.
The following year, AmaTuks, also still in the NFD at that stage, also reached the final, but went down 1-0 to Moroka Swallows.
In 2010 it was the turn of FC Cape Town to capture the soccer fraternity’s imagination, the African Beasts knocking out Kaizer Chiefs with a 2-0 victory in the quarter-finals.
It was in 2011 that Baroka beat Chiefs, the Limpopo side then losing to Black Leopards in the semi-finals, Leopards an NFD club at that point. Lidoda Duvha were to lose 3-1 to Orlando Pirates in the final.
It was in the 2012/ 2013 edition, that Maluti FET College enjoyed arguably their greatest ever day, the third tier minnows from the Free State beating Orlando Pirates 4-1 in the last 32.
In 2013, NFD side United FC made it as far as the semi-finals, where they were edged out 2-1 by Chiefs.
Last season’s surprise package was Vasco da Gama, the Cape team making it all the way to the semis before being eliminated (1-0) by eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns.