The tournament thus far has also been kind to especially young and ambitious players
The Nedbank Cup competition delivered a chilli-hot quarter-finals stage at the weekend; so much so that there is the real prospect that this decade-old contest will serve up a dream final between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns some time in the middle of May.
But wait. I am getting ahead of myself. There is still the matter of the mandatory semi-finals stage on the horizon, and even that offering is loaded with possibilities. One of the possibilities is the very real likelihood of either of the less fancied teams, namely Maritzburg United and Free State Stars, causing a real upset by getting a favourable result against either of the legendary sides in the SA football firmament.
The tournament thus far has also been kind to especially young and ambitious players. The likes of Percy Tau and Khama Billiat of Sundowns are basking in the glory of their natural talent.
The Diamond City’s own export, Bradley “Surprise” Ralani, eventually also struck the right chord to register his prowess with the SA football follower. Ralani has been promising to dazzle us with his football skills in all of the last three matches he has played for Cape Town City. Ralani played in the Uefa region for over a decade before joining City this year.
You would remember that the Kimberlite was critically involved in the club’s ousting of Orlando Pirates from the Nedbank Cup a fortnight or so ago. Unfortunately for Ralani at the weekend he only got a chance to deliver a morale-boosting goal for his side during their 2-1 loss to Sundowns before he had to drop out of the game because of cramps in the calves.
He was awarded the Man of the Match green blazer for his troubles, though.
It’s truly exciting for South African football that a few of the lower division teams snuck into the deeper reaches of this contest this time around. It really appears this time around that there definitely seems to be a “go get it tiger” attitude among all of the sides in the competition.
Nobody gave an inch to anybody. Reputation did not count. So much so that even Pitso Mosimane himself during a live television interview recounted their hellish experience at the hands of EC Bees FC, an upstart team from the lower Safa divisions in the Eastern Cape.
Mosimane said that they had to dig from inside their reserves to find a way to dislodge the tough-as-nails EC Bees from the competition.
With that type of contests on offer you can bet the sponsors are not likely to walk away any time soon from this deal.
Now dear reader allow me to tell you about another unusual thing that is upon us. These very same clubs alerted us all to the fact that they will still put up their hands for the national prize which is the Premier Soccer League title. When it comes to that I think the Baroka FC team manager Macdonald Makhubedu couldn’t have said it better.
Makhubedu said the safety in the league of teams placed on the fourth to the 16th rung is not guaranteed. Everybody has to play for their safety and has to work hard to earn the prize money that goes along with that.
A quick recap of the league: Sundowns are right at the top but still have to play seven games. Platinum Stars are bottom with six games still to play. My place in front of the telly for the next few weeks is booked solid.