Galaxy and beyond for small sides
The team owned by former player agent Tim Sukazi and coached by the legendary former Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns captain Dan Malesela became the first non-elite league outfit to win the Nedbank Cup when they beat Kaizer Chiefs in the final last season.
Now teams in the GladAfrica Championship, the country’s second-tier league, are excitedly anticipating the next edition.
Fresh from booking their spots in the competition proper, the eight teams, including Galaxy, talked up their chances of success in this season’s competition.
“We wanted to qualify for the last 32. That’s where everyone showcases their talent and we also want to compete with the best. With Galaxy winning it last season, it also gives us hope and confidence that we can make it. Nobody can say it won’t happen,” Real Kings coach Joel Masutha said after their 3-1 win over Steenberg United.
Galaxy brushed aside Cape Umoya FC 1-0 but Sukazi lamented the fact that they had to play in the qualifiers.
“Where have you heard that the defending champions have to qualify to defend their crown? None of the 16 Premier Soccer League sides are the champions, we are the champions and we had to qualify. But we are happy that we are in the last 32. We are unfazed by the pressure that comes with being the defending champions.
“When you win things and create history, there will always be expectations. We won’t put pressure on ourselves, we will take it one game at a time.”
Real Eagles beat Moroka Swallows 3-1 on penalties to advance.
Club chief executive Morgan Mamilla believes this feat will help inspire his team to avoiding relegation.
“The win in the Nedbank Cup is huge for us. It was important for our confidence. It will help us a lot to compete in the Nedbank Cup. It will bring the best out of our players which can help us to climb the log. It happened with Ubuntu Cape Town when they reached the semi-finals. They avoided relegation. At Baroka, we got promoted after reaching the quarter-finals, where we were beaten by SuperSport United. We know what effect it will have if we can do well in this Nedbank Cup,” Mamilla explained.
League leaders Uthongathi do not want to think to far ahead. Coach Johnny Ferreira is challenging his team to start making better use of home ground advantage before they can start thinking about the Nedbank Cup.
“We want to do well in the Nedbank Cup but that is not our focus right now. What I want to see is my team improving our home record. That’s my concern right now. Why is this team not winning games at home? By the time the Nedbank Cup proper starts, we need to be ruthless at home. We are winning most of our away games. I’m not saying the Nedbank Cup is not important, it is important. We are dreaming big at this club.”@minenhlecr7