Absa Premiership’s Highlands Park FC, who have been blowing hot and cold this season, will do battle with its ‘David’ in the Nedbank Cup.
The Lions of the North, as Highlands are fondly known to their avid fans, were drawn against Uthongathi FC in the cup that has become famously known as the David versus Goliath Cup due to its nature of pitting Absa Premiership sides against minnows in the GladAfrica Championship and other teams of the South African Football Association’s (Safa) amateur teams in the third tier of football, the ABC Motsepe League.
The Premier Soccer League, in consultation with its sponsors Nedbank, is still to decide on the dates, venues and kick-off times for the games of the last 32 round of the lucrative and final cup competition of the country’s professional football season.
Speaking in an interview soon after the draw, Highlands’ lethal striker Rodney ‘Rama-G’ Ramagalela did not want to go overboard in his assessment of his team’s anticipated performance in the cup competition, preferring to say the ‘team was still a work in progress’ in an apparent reference to the fact that they have been blowing hot and cold this season.
“We’re still in the building phase of the team and when you are building, you cannot guarantee precisely when that work will be complete nor guarantee your moving time. All I can say is that we shall be taking one game at a time and see how far we can go,” he said.
Pressed to spill his team’s ambitions in the competition, Rama-G, a former Black Leopards and Polokwane City top marksman, said obviously any team would like to go all the way in any competition. “The same applies to us. We would love to go far, as far as winning the trophy but all that falls within our strategy of tackling one game at a time.”
Other interesting draws of the competition include a mouthwatering Tshwane derby between rejuvenated SuperSport United under the stewardship of astute Zimbabwean mentor and former team member Kaitano Tembo and Mamelodi Sundowns. Also, there will be a Johannesburg derby between Orlando Pirates and the Clever Boys (Bidvest Wits).
Last year’s losing finalists Kaizer Chiefs, who were pipped to the title by their own ‘David’ in GladAfrica Championship side TS Galaxy, are expected to redeem themselves and restore their pride at home against another GladAfrica Championship side Royal Eagles from Durban.
Trophy holders TS Galaxy are expected to begin counting their lucky stars in their ‘mission impossible’ defence of the Nedbank Cup. Before possibly being pitted against Amakhosi, the KwaNdebele side will have to first get past fellow GladAfrica Championship outfit, Ajax Cape Town.