Seemingly buoyed by their maiden Varsity Football triumph in 2019, NWU’s Mafikeng team have qualified for the national cup competition for the first time ever.
As reward for doing so, they have been drawn to play Black Leopards away in the Nedbank Cup Round of 32; which features 24 PSL clubs (16 from the top-flight and 8 from the first division) and a further eight from further down the football ladder.
One of the tournament’s aims is to give lower league and amateur teams a chance to compete with top-tier clubs. To gain their place, Karabo Masehela’s Noble Boys went through a series of qualifiers to reach the main draw. They beat Red Lions by 4-1 in the North West provincial ‘final’ before facing Limpopo-based outfit King Born in the inter-provincial stage – and promptly beat them 8-0.
“The Nedbank Cup is the best platform for the NWU to gain marketing mileage and national recognition. This is the first time the NWU reached this stage since we joined the second division league (ABC Motsepe League) in 2008,” club manager Vuyolwethu Sambo told nwu.ac.za.
“We are proud of the technical team led by coach Karabo Masehela and the players led by captain Paseka Matsheka. We are even more delighted to have our Purple Army behind us every step of the way.”
As it happens, Masehela will have to do without two of his star players from the 2019 Varsity Football season, Lindani Nkabinde and Mandisi Gadla, after the pair signed for Baroka at year-end.
NWU’s Potchefstroom football team (nicknamed Tawana) famously beat then top-flight club Platinum Stars 3-2 in the 2010 national cup, before Orlando Pirates brought them back to earth with a 4-0 win in the Last 16 stage.
NWU won’t be the only Varsity Football representatives in the Nedbank Cup Last 32. Vaal University of Technology, who will make their return in 2020 after a five-year absence, have been drawn to host Lamontville Golden Arrows from Durban.
The fixtures for the Nedbank Cup Last 32 are scheduled from 5 to 11 February 2020.
By Carlo Jonkerman