CAPE TOWN - The Mother City has six representatives in the round of 32 of the Nedbank Cup.
Based on the English FA Cup, this competition affords lower-tier teams the opportunity to mix it with higher division opponents.
As such, in addition to PSL clubs Cape Town City and Ajax Cape Town, the Western Cape region also has NFD campaigners Ubuntu Cape Town, Stellenbosch FC and Cape Town All Stars, and Second Division side Steenberg United involved in the tournament.
For these lower-division Cape clubs, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.
Ubuntu, in their debut season in the NFD, have a tricky fixture against unpredictable PSL campaigners Polokwane City at Athlone Stadium on Wednesday (7.30pm kickoff), All Stars have a mountain to climb against PSL log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns at the same venue on Friday, while Steenberg take on Rustenburg side Orbit College at Parow Park on Saturday afternoon.
Ajax, after last week’s morale-boosting home victory over Orlando Pirates, face the Buccaneers again, this time at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night. Stellenbosch will only be in action next Wednesday when they face NFD leaders Highlands Park at Athlone.
Meanwhile for City, it’s a big, busy yet historic week.
They have to negotiate a tough Nedbank Cup fixture against Wits in Johannesburg on Wednesday night (7.30pm kickoff) and then, two days later, they make their debut in African inter-club competition with a Caf Confederation Cup preliminary round, first leg clash in Swaziland against Young Buffaloes.
So City will this week head to Johannesburg for the last 32 clash with Wits and, afterwards, immediately set off on the journey to Swaziland; they are in for a torrid, tiring week, but the squad is determined to do the club proud in the Confederation Cup.
For City, though, last Friday’s defeat to Sundowns took a heavy toll as they will travel to Wits this week with both central defenders suspended: captain Robyn Johannes was red-carded, while Taariq Fielies picked up his fourth yellow of the season.
The situation offers new signing Kwanda Mngonyama an opportunity, while Tshepo Gumede, who has struggled to find a way into the team, gets another chance to make his mark in defence.
The Nedbank Cup last 32 fixtures are:
Wednesday: AmaZulu v Mthatha Bucks; Ubuntu Cape Town v Polokwane City (Athlone Stadium, 7.30pm); Bidvest Wits v Cape Town City (Bidvest Stadium, 7.30pm)
Friday: Cape Town All Stars v Mamelodi Sundowns (Athlone Stadium, 8pm);
Saturday: Swallows FC v Maritzburg United; Steenberg United v Orbit College (Parow Park, 3.30pm); Phiva Young Stars v Chippa United; Orlando Pirates v Ajax Cape Town (Orlando Stadium, 8.15pm); Super Eagles v Free State Stars
Sunday: Kaizer Chiefs v Golden Arrows; Mariveni United v EC Bees; Bloemfontein Celtic v SuperSport United; Happy Wanderers v Royal Eagles
Wednesday, February 14: Richards Bay v Bloemfontein Young Tigers; Platinum Stars v Baroka FC; Stellenbosch v Highlands Park (Athlone Stadium, 7.30pm)