Nedbank Cup: Can Tshegofatso Mabasa and Orlando Pirates slay another KZN side?

FILE - Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

FILE - Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

Published Apr 12, 2024


All eyes will be on holders Orlando Pirates when they head to Durban to take on AmaZulu in the quarter-final of the Nedbank Cup on Saturday.

In what has been a topsy-turvy year for Ezimnyama Ngenkani, they will be looking to keep their momentum from last weekend when they scored seven goals in a DStv Premiership clash against an in-form Golden Arrows.

Tshegofatso Mabasa was the hero with a hat-trick in that game, and head coach Jose Riveiro will be hoping for more from the Bafana Bafana striker.

Mabasa started the season out on loan at Moroka Swallows, and his return to his parent club was as a result of the Dube Birds’ financial situation which saw a number of players released and head coach Steve Komphela let go.

This situation has worked out beautifully for the Buccaneers, who was their lynchpin in attack against Arrows.

“I don’t know if he was in a different space or he was asking to go out on loan because he wanted to be constantly on the field or maybe at that time it was difficult at Pirates for whatever reason,” Riveiro was quoted in media reports.

“But what I know is that he is back and he is performing at a very good level and he is helping us to play better and to only score goals. Hopefully, he continues in the same space and in the same shape because it is nice to see a player of his talent performing at this level.”

In Mabasa’s firing line this weekend will be Pablo Franco’s Usuthu, who have also lacked consistency when it comes to picking up results.

However, ahead of the clash, Franco stated his side were not afraid of their rivals, and would be facing them head on as they look to advance to the semi-finals of the competition.

Saturday’s first game will see the high-fying Stellenbosch FC taking on the equally ambitious SuperSport United.

Matsatsantsa’s league season has hit a sudden roadblock and they’ve struggled for result, so they will welcome the distraction of the Nedbank Cup.

Meanwhile, Steve Barker’s Stellies have stood alone as the league’s second best team, and will be confident of bagging a second trophy for the season after winning the Carling Knockout in December.

The last game of the weekend will see TS Galaxy hosting Gqeberha’s Chippa United at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams are set to finish in mid-table in the league, and are looking at the cup to add put smiles on their fans’ faces.

Nedbank Cup quarter-final fixtures

Friday: University of Pretoria v Mamelodi Sundowns - 7pm

Saturday: Stellenbosch FC v SuperSport United - 3pm; AmaZulu v Orlando Pirates - 6pm

Sunday: TS Galaxy v Chippa

IOL Sport