Stellenbosch chase another cup as Golden Arrows take aim at TS Galaxy

Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker

FILE - Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 23, 2024


Stellenbosch FC will hope to continue their good form when they kick off their Nedbank Cup journey against Pretoria Callies at 7pm on Friday night in the Cape Winelands.

The round-of-32 fixture will mark Stellenbosch’s first home game for the season and the ambitious club will be looking to improve on last season’s dramatic run, which included a win over defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

Their impressive campaign saw coach Steve Barker’s team reaching the semi-finals, and they narrowly missed out on a spot in the final following a penalty shoot-out defeat to Sekhukhune United.

National First Division outfit Callies – one of the oldest clubs in the country, having been formed in 1898 – have also reached a Nedbank Cup semi-final, but lost 1-0 to Chippa United in 2021.

At the end of last year, Stellenbosch were crowned Carling Knockout Cup champions after they beat TS Galaxy on penalties in the final, the first major trophy for the Western Cape outfit.

Coach Barker will be willing on his charges to also set the ‘Cup of Dreams’ in their sights when they run out against Callies at the Danie Craven Stadium tonight.

Stellenbosch are enjoying a great run on the domestic scene, having won nine of their last 12 matches, with three draws.

They also kept five clean sheets in their last eight matches.

Barker will welcome defender Fawaaz Basadien back from suspension. Goalkeeper Sage Stephens is an injury doubt, so the Pretoria-born Oscarine Masuluke could join the fray.

Meanwhile, there will also be Nedbank Cup action at the Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale – which is some 50km west of Durban – where Lamontville Golden Arrows will go head-to-head with TS Galaxy in a last-32 tie.

This match will be a repeat of the 2019 semi-final when Galaxy, who were in the second tier at the time, stunned Arrows 3-1 after extra time.

They went on to shock Kaizer Chiefs in the final to become the first and only team from a lower division to win the Nedbank Cup.

Arrows, who are coached by Mabhuti Khenyeza, have gone out in the first round in three of the last four seasons, including against fourth-tier Vaal University of Technology in 2020.

All of those exits have been on penalties, and they have not lost a fixture outright in the last 32 since 2018, when they went down 3-0 to Kaizer Chiefs.

TS Galaxy have not gone past the second round since they lifted the trophy in 2019.

Last season, they lost an extraordinary round-of-16 clash against Stellenbosch 6-3.

Remaining Nedbank Cup fixtures

Friday 23 February

Golden Arrows v TS Galaxy, 7pm

Stellenbosch FC v Pretoria Callies, 7pm

Saturday 24 February

JDR Stars v Hungry Lions, 3pm

Platinum City Rovers v Moroka Swallows, 3pm

Ravens FC v Spain FC, 3pm

Crystal Lake FC v Pirates, 3pm

Richards Bay v Polokwane City, 6pm

Sunday 25 February

D’General FC v Madridistas FC, 3pm

Maritzburg United v Paarl United, 3pm

NC Pros FC v Chippa United, 3pm

Kaizer Chiefs v Milford FC, 6pm

IOL Sport