Sundowns, Wits and Chiefs all want to take the Nedbank Cup home with them
ALL the big guns of South African football have one mission in this year’s edition of the Nedbank Cup – to end their lengthy runs without a trophy.
Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits all advanced to the last 16 of the country’s premier club knockout competition and are looking to progress further following Monday’s draw.
League champions Sundowns last won the competition five years ago, a pretty long time by their standards, and no doubt coach Pitso Mosimane would love to change that.
That success, victory over Ajax Cape Town in Port Elizabeth, was Mosimane’s maiden one in charge of Sundowns and while he has gone on to make winning trophies a habit, a second Nedbank Cup has proven elusive.
He now has to see the Brazilians over the next hurdle that is a potential banana skin in the form of the Vaal University of Technology if he is to get his hands on the trophy again.
Mosimane’s local counterpart in great successes, Gavin Hunt, has turned Wits into a formidable force since joining from SuperSport United nearly eight years ago.
During that time Hunt has delivered three trophies for an outfit that has hitherto been renowned as mere also-rans.
The Clever Boys have even also lost one cup final in those years while they have been league title challengers consistently.
But the Nedbank Cup, which he had lifted before with SuperSport United via a 2-0 victory over Sundowns in 2012, has eluded Hunt in his time with Wits.
Prior to the Nedbank Cup, Hunt was triumphant in 2004 when he led Moroka Swallows to a 3-1 victory over Manning Rangers in the same competition when it was called the Absa Cup. He is now hunting for his third triumph in the competition in which Wits have struggled in the past decade.
The Clever Boys last won the competition back in 2010 courtesy of a 1-0 success over AmaZulu in a match that marked the opening of the new FNB Stadium that hosted both the opening match and final of the Fifa World Cup hosted here that year.
To book a place in the quarter-finals, Hunt has to lead the team past Chippa United and he will no doubt be confident of success following their dramatic victory over Orlando Pirates in the previous round when they finished the match with 10 players after Elias Pelembe was sent off.
And then there’s Chiefs, the most successful side in the competition with 13 titles since the 1970s.
But Amakhosi haven’t tasted success in the past seven years and to get close to scratching that itch, Amakhosi have to dispose of Owen da Gama’s Highlands Park in the next round.
So, though Amakhosi, Sundowns and Wits are all out to end their barren runs in the Nedbank Cup, only one team can accomplish that mission.