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Preview: Nedbank Cup National First Division qualifiers

Posted: 12 December 2017 Time: 11:59

Sixteen National First Division sides will be whittled down to eight by the end of the week as South Africa’s second-tier rivals square off for a spot in the Last 32 of next year’s Nedbank Cup.

The 2018 event - which includes all 16 Absa Premiership teams, eight lower league teams and eight NFD teams - officially begins today with two NFD showdowns, with six more scheduled for Wednesday.

KickOff.com previews all eight battles taking place around the country.

Tuesday, December 12

Super Eagles vs Black Leopards (Goble Park)

Super Eagles will be looking for revenge against Black Leopards in their qualifier on Tuesday afternoon, having lost 2-1 in a league encounter against Lidoda Duvha at the end of November. Eagles have won just two of their last seven games to sit 12th in the league, while Leopards sit mid-table in ninth, and enter the fixture on the back of a four-match unbeaten run. Leopards memorably made the final of the 2011 Nedbank Cup, losing 3-1 to Orlando Pirates.

Stellenbosch vs Mbombela United (Parow Park)

An evenly-matched affair is expected at Parow Park, with Stellenbosch and Mbombela United having faced off in the league over the weekend, playing out a goalless draw. The two sides are separated by just one point on the NFD table, with Mbombela in fourth and Stellenbosch fifth. The visitors have lost just one of their last five games, while the Cape club are unbeaten in four. Both sides made the Last 32 of the Nedbank Cup last year, with Stellenbosch (under previous name Vasco da Gama) reaching the semi-finals in 2015, before losing to eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

Wednesday, December 13

Jomo Cosmos vs Ubuntu CT (Vosloorus Stadium)

Jomo Cosmos will back themselves to do the business against an Ubuntu Cape Town side that has recorded just one win the entire season and sit joint-bottom of the NFD log, while Ezenkhosi  – who are unbeaten at home all season – sit second. Cosmos’ last loss came eight match days ago in mid-October, and played out a 1-1 draw with their Cup opponents when they met in the league in September.

Witbank Spurs vs Richards Bay (Puma Rugby Stadium)

Mid-table Witbank Spurs, who lie eighth in the standings, will be favourites against bottom-placed Richards Bay, who last won a match in September. Spurs are unbeaten in seven games, though five have been draws, and drew 0-0 in the league with their KZN counterparts last month. Spurs have twice been knocked out in the Round of 16.

CT All Stars vs Tshakhuma (Parow Park)

There is little to choose from between All Stars and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila ahead of their clash on Wednesday afternoon. TTM sit a point ahead of their Cape rivals in seventh on the NFD log with their opponents in 10th, yet neither are in good form at present: the hosts have lost three of their last five games, while Tshakhuma are coming off the back of a 5-1 loss to Real Kings over the weekend. The two sides met in the opening day of this season’s NFD campaign, where All Stars emerged 1-0 victors.

Mthatha Bucks vs Uthongathi (Mthatha Stadium)

It’s all to play for in this Nedbank Cup qualifier, as both Mthatha Bucks and Uthongathi will look to put their woeful league form aside. Bucks have lost their last four games in a row, and sit 13th on the log, while Uthongathi – three points ahead in 11th – have just one win in their last seven games, and are yet to secure victory on the road this season. Bucks will take confidence from their 2-1 win over the ABC Motsepe League champions in their league meeting in September.

Royal Eagles vs University of Pretoria (Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium)

It’s a David-vs-Goliath clash at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium as third-placed University of Pretoria travel to third-from-bottom Royal Eagles. Tuks have three victories in their last five games, while Eagles have not won in seven matches, losing four of those to languish just above the relegation zone. Losing finalists in the 2009 Nedbank Cup, Tuks have already beaten Eagles once this season, edging their rivals 2-1 in their league match-up in September.

Highlands Park vs Real Kings (Makhulong Stadium)

Pace-setters Highlands Park will hope their impressive league form serves them well in their qualifier against Real Kings. The Lions of the North haven’t lost in nine games and sit top of the table, four points ahead of second-placed Jomo Cosmos. Kings, meanwhile, have been in solid form themselves, losing just one of their last six games, while putting five past Tshakhuma in their last league encounter to sit sixth on the log. The two sides, both of whom have never progressed past the first round of the Nedbank Cup, drew 1-1 in their league encounter earlier this season.

Kick-off for all fixtures is set for 15h00. 

Article by: Fabio De Dominicis
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