The 32 teams from the top four tiers of South African football discovered their fate for the first round of the 2014 Nedbank Cup tonight. For the seventh year, South Africa’s premier knockout competition will pit the giants against the minnows over three months of exhilarating football that provides the opportunity for giant-killing acts, dreams to come true and legends to be made.
The 16 teams from South Africa’s top-flight, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) have entered the competition along with eight qualifiers from the National First Division (NFD) and a further eight sides from the South African Football Association (SAFA) ranks – which this year includes two teams from the fourth tier of the domestic game, Mainstay United FC from the Northern Cape and University of Stellenbosch from the Western Cape.
There is one final club to be decided still in the 32-team field with a play-off for the last remaining SAFA place to be played between Polokwane City Rovers from the North West province and AmaBEE FC of Gauteng on Saturday, 18 January at 15h00 at the Muckleneuck Ground, Mamelodi. The winner of this fixture will face Bidvest Wits. With the nine provinces of South Africa needing to provide eight teams, the play-off decides which province will miss out this year.
2013 Nedbank Cup champions Kaizer Chiefs will try to defend their title after beating 2012 champions SuperSport United 1-0 in an exhilarating final held last May at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
PSL CEO, Brand de Villiers said: “The PSL partnership with Nedbank has been one of the key drivers behind fulfilling the dreams of young talent across the country. Together with our sponsors Nedbank, we are excited to once again welcome the Nedbank Cup tournament. We have seen the important role played by the Nedbank Cup not only in nurturing youngsters but in fuelling ambition of lower division clubs to climb the ladder to the elite league. Clubs like Maluti FET College, Baroka FC and University of Pretoria, amongst others, are testament to that. This tournament has remained relevant to all South Africans because of the role it plays in bringing together top professional sides and clubs in the amateur ranks.”
The Nedbank Cup’s Goals4Goals campaign, in partnership with the Sports Trust, will continue to be a key feature of the tournament as it encourages footballers to score more goals and also to contribute to sports development in the country. With 97 goals netted in the 2013 competition, this translated into R776 000 which contributed towards the building of a R 1 million multi-purpose sports court for Sinamuva Primary school in KwaZulu Natal. A further R 1 million rand was used in 2013 to provide soccer kits and training to over 120 schools across the country.
“We don’t believe that the Nedbank Cup should only benefit the more established players and teams. We are very committed to to helping communities develop the facilities and players which can produce world-class footballers and change lives.
“Over the years, the Nedbank Cup has created a great platform for many soccer players to make write their names in history, and we expect same this year” said Sydney Mbhele, Divisional Executive for Marketing at Nedbank.
The Nedbank Cup was launched in 2008 and since inception, has contributed to the development of young talent, and given deserving players from the NFD and SAFA ranks the opportunity to make their mark by testing their skills against teams from the PSL.
2014 Nedbank Cup Last 32 Draw:
United FC v AmaZulu
Golden Arrows v Polokwane City
University of Pretoria v SuperSport United
University of Stellenbosch v Bloemfontein Celtic
FC Buffalo v FC Cape Town
Mainstay United v African Warriors
Milano United v Bloemfontein Young Tigers
Moroka Swallows v Mbombela United
Maritzburg United v Mpumalanga Black Aces
Santos v Gamalakhe United
Free State Stars v Witbank Spurs
Platinum Stars v Great North FC
Ajax Cape Town v Mamelodi Sundowns
Black Leopards v Kaizer Chiefs
AmaBEE FC/ Polokwane City Rovers v Bidvest Wits
Thanda Royal Zulu v Orlando Pirates