Nebank Cup: Prepare for glory

We call it our equivalent of the English's FA Cup.

And like that world renowned knockout competition, ours (under its different guises dependent on who is the sponsor) has over the years provided incredible drama.

Every year we look forward to the shock of seeing a lower division side knocking their elite league counterparts out.

The David v Goliath factor makes for intriguing football and current sponsors Nedbank were understandably delighted in 2008 to have an inaugural final pitting the first division's Mpumalanga Black Aces against Mamelodi Sundowns.

The ending, however, was not ala the Bible story.

Even so, there had been some giant-killing (remember Ikapa Sporting against Bloemfontein Celtic?) en route to that afternoon's pulsating final at a packed Johannesburg Stadium when Lerato Chabangu performed what renowned commentator Mark Gleeson aptly termed "a smash and grab".

The first round draw conducted on Monday in Sandton dished out some mouth-watering ties between big and small as well as the tie of the round between Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United.

What intrigued us though were some of the names of the lower division teams and we went out to find what inspired those names them as well as more about the particular sides.

Blackburn Rovers

Vodacom League, Eastern Cape

Owner: Loyiso Magqaza

Inspiration for the name: I am told that the name came about way back in 1965 when the club was formed.

Just like now, the English League enjoyed huge following in the country and the people who formed it were big fans of Rovers - hence the name.

We're sticking with the name for now, but we might change it yet.

Background: I took ownership of the club last season. The club was originally based in Butterworth and I moved them to East London. Previously they were in the Mvela League, but got relegated to the lower divisions.

Make-up: William Mugeyi is our coach and has been with us for two seasons now.

Our team has a good mix of young players and experienced ones.

We have roped in former Bafana Bafana player Siyabonga Siphika and Sibusiso Mazibuko also plays for us. We feel they will help us in our quest for promotion.

Form in their League: We lead Bush Bucks by 11 points with just three matches to go so we've already won the Vodacom League in the Eastern Cape and we will be going to the play-offs for promotion to the NFD.

We also won the Buffalo City Cup in 2009.

On the draw: We'd like to stay as long as we can for two reasons - we want to gain experience of playing at a high level and we also want to keep active ahead of the play-offs, which will be decided a long time after we've completed our season.

We've seen Tukkies and we know they are a very structured side. But we're bullish about our chances.

Owner: Paul Mphabela

Inspiration for the name: I loved the Godfather movies. I am a big fan, but I am not a mafioso. I took the name Sicilians because I was really inspired by the way those Italians do things. I love their courage, their style, their honour and mostly their brotherhood. And these are all the things we strive for the club to represent.

Background: It came into being this season. I bought the status of some Vodacom league club because I had realised just how abundant the talent was in my area.

I've always organised tournaments during the Easter and festive periods for the local clubs to play and it pained me to see so much talent not having a proper platform to express itself.

Make-up: We have mainly youngsters from the townships and villages around Newcastle and two from Johannesburg.

Our coach is Doctor Mkhona, who used to play for QwaQwa Stars. He started with us, but then left and we went through no fewer than four other coaches (Vincent Sokhela, Botsotso Makhanya, David Biyela and another coach from Liberia) before he came back.

Form in their league: We're number one in our region and with just four games left we are confident we will make it to the play-offs.

On the draw: Bay United are in for the shock of their lives. Do you know that some of the PSL teams do not have the kind of crowd we pull for our home games? We fill our ground almost every time and this should help us in the Nedbank Cup. We will beat them.

Chairperson/Co-coach: Zachs Nhlabathi

Inspiration for the name: The team is named after the township in which it is based. This should not surprise you, I am sure, because just about every club is named after the area in which they are based - like Manchester United who are in the city of Manchester in England.

Background: The club has been around since 1992, but they were going nowhere fast. I started working with them in 2001 after Sasol decided to put money into the club as part of their CSI for the community.

They wanted someone who lived in the area to run the club and me being a big fan of the game decided to do it.

So, instead of focusing just on the area we lived in, I went around the province looking for players to strengthen the club.

Make-up: This is a totally local team of 21 trusted players who have no top class football experience. I work well together with our coach Joshua Ditshego regarding technical matters.

Form in their league: We're currently the leaders in our SAB League and we are confident we will be playing in the Vodacom League next season.

On the draw: I want to see us in the final. Ajax are an open book to me and they have no clue about me. They only play through Mabhudi (Khenyeza).

My boys have seen the way clubs such as Thanda (Royal Zulu) got hammered in the Premiership and they feel they can compete with those guys.

Bring on Chiefs or Pirates and we can take them on.

Director: Lucky Mohayi

Inspiration for the name: The founder and current president of the club, Andrew Seleka, was a big fan of Real Madrid, especially in the early nineties and he decided to go with the name.

Background: The club was formed in 1987 and was called Ipopeng Stars then.

But two years later Seleka renamed it Real Madrid having been inspired by the Spanish giants.

The club played in the Vodacom League in the 2004/05 season, but because of financial difficulties we sold the status.

We can proudly say we have produced a player who went on to play in the professional ranks.

Do you remember Thabo Mosegomi, who played for QwaQwa Stars a few seasons ago? He started his football with us.

Make-up: Our team is generally made up of young players, most of whom are under 23 years old.

We have no former professionals and our coach is Mmui Saane, who used to play for Basotho Tigers.

Form in their league: We are enjoying a two point lead at the top of the table and with three games left before the season ends we are confident that we will make it into in the national play-offs.

On the draw: When the season started we set ourselves the goal of reaching the last 32 and we have achieved that.

We now feel we can go on to the next round because the draw was a bit favourable for us.

We don't underestimate Peace Lovers, but we feel we have what it takes to beat them.

Newcastle Sicillians

Vodacom League: Kwa-Zulu Natal

Owner: Paul Mphabela

Inspiration for the name: I loved the Godfather movies. I am a big fan, but I am not a mafioso.

I took the name Sicilians because I was really inspired by the way those Italians do things.

I love their courage, their style, their honour and mostly their brotherhood. And these are all the things we strive for the club to represent.

Background: It came into being this season. I bought the status of some Vodacom league club because I had realised just how abundant the talent was in my area.

I've always organised tournaments during the Easter and festive periods for the local clubs to play and it pained me to see so much talent not having a proper platform to express itself.

Make-up: We have mainly youngsters from the townships and villages around Newcastle and two from Johannesburg. Our coach is Doctor Mkhona, who used to play for QwaQwa Stars.

He started with us, but then left and we went through no fewer than four other coaches (Vincent Sokhela, Botsotso Makhanya, David Biyela and another coach from Liberia) before he came

back.

Form in their league: We're number one in our region and with just four games left we are confident we will make it to the play-offs.

On the draw: Bay United are in for the shock of their lives.

Do you know that some of the PSL teams do not have the kind of crowd we pull for our home games? We fill our ground almost every time and this should help us in the Nedbank Cup.

We will beat them.

Sasol Thistle Groove

SAB League, Mpumalanga

Chairperson/Co-coach: Zachs Nhlabathi

Inspiration for the name: The team is named after the township in which it is based.

This should not surprise you, I am sure, because just about every club is named after the area in which they are based like Manchester United who are in the city of Manchester in England.

Background: The club has been around since 1992, but they were going nowhere fast.

I started working with them in 2001 after Sasol decided to put money into the club as part of their CSI for the community.

They wanted someone who lived in the area to run the club and me being a big fan of the game decided to do it.

So, instead of focusing just on the area we lived in, I went around the province looking for players to strengthen the club.

Make-up: This is a totally local team of 21 trusted players who have no top class football experience.

I work well together with our coach Joshua Ditshego regarding technical matters.

Form in their league: We're currently the leaders in our SAB League and we are confident we will be playing in the Vodacom League next season.

On the draw: I want to see us in the final.

Ajax are an open book to me and they have no clue about me.

They only play through Mabhudi (Khenyeza). My boys have seen the way clubs such as Thanda (Royal Zulu) got hammered in the Premiership and they feel they can compete with those guys.

Bring on Chiefs or Pirates and we can take them on.

Real Madrid

Vodacom League, Northern Cape

Director: Lucky Mohayi

Inspiration for the name: The founder and current president of the club, Andrew Seleka, was a big fan of Real Madrid, especially in the early nineties and he decided to go with the name.

Background: The club was formed in 1987 and was called Ipopeng Stars then.

But two years later Seleka renamed it Real Madrid having been inspired by the Spanish giants.

The club played in the Vodacom League in the 2004/05 season, but because of financial difficulties we sold the status.

We can proudly say we have produced a player who went on to play in the professional ranks.

Do you remember Thabo Mosegomi, who played for QwaQwa Stars a few seasons ago? He started his football with us.

Make-up: Our team is generally made up of young players, most of whom are under 23 years old.

We have no former professionals and our coach is Mmui Saane, who used to play for Basotho Tigers.

For in the league:We are enjoying a two point lead at the top of the table and with three games left before the season ends we are confident that we will make it into in the national play-offs.

On the draw: When the season started we set ourselves the goal of reaching the last 32 and we have achieved that.

We now feel we can go on to the next round because the draw was a bit favourable for us.

We don't underestimate Peace Lovers, but we feel we have what it takes to beat them.




sign up