Durban - DStv Premiership high-flyers Royal AM have a chance to potentially make history this season by lifting the Nedbank Cup. No team from KwaZulu-Natal has won South Africa’s premier football club competition since its inception in 2007.
John Maduka’s side who sit second in the league host GladAfrica Championship side University of Pretoria at the Chatsworth Stadium on Sunday afternoon. They will be the favourites to advance to the semi-final of the competition by virtue of having players who play at a higher level.
Royal AM also have two potential routes to qualify for continental competition next season. Should they finish second in the league, they will qualify for next season’s CAF Champions League. Winning the Nedbank Cup could also earn them the right to play in the CAF Confederation Cup next season should they fail to finish second.
“It’s important to go all out. It is important to represent this beautiful province. This province deserves good things when it comes to sport,” said Maduka.
“We must make sure that we make the people of KZN very happy. If we win this, it will be good. We can’t talk about lifting a cup before we come to the final so we must take things one stage at a time. The pressure is on us for every game. It does not matter who you play against. You don’t know what to expect.”
One of Royal AM’s star performers this season has been goalkeeper Patrick Nyame. The 35-year-old is the only shot-stopper in the top-flight to have played in every league game for his side so far. He has shown incredible command, positioning and made some incredible reflex saves behind the sticks which have prevented his side from conceding several goals.
Nyame has been tipped by leading pundits to be a contender for the PSL’s Goalkeeper of the season award. Maduka himself won the Coach of the Month award for March.
Should Royal AM potentially finish second in the league and win the Nedbank Cup, he will be a serious contender for the PSL coach of the season award along with the Sundowns coaching trio of Manqoba Mngqithi, Steve Komphela and Rhulani Mokwena.
“As a coach, you want players to achieve things. If something like that happens, it is good for the team. It is also motivational for the players as they will also want to achieve it. As a coach, you always want to see players being rewarded,” said Maduka.