Four hopefuls keep their foot in the Cup door

The preliminary round of the Nedbank Cup saw four ABC Motsepe League teams progress to the next round of the tournament over the weekend.

AIRBORNE TUSSLE: FC Buffalo’s Ishmael Madimabe and EC Bees’ Simphiwe Dlamini go after the ball during their Nedbank Cup knockout encounter at North End Stadium on Saturday Picture: MARK ANDREWS

Matta Milan, Lion City, EC Bees and Mthatha City managed to emerge victorious in their pools and are soon to battle it out in the next round of the tournament.

Mthatha City director of football Nkush Malgas said they knew exactly what to expect from Spears FC.

“The final log from last season doesn’t lie, we used it as a point of reference.

“They [Spears] have assembled a very competitive side with a lot of experienced players, their win over Future Tigers was no fluke.

“We made about six changes from our starting lineup from the previous games; we knew that we were going to struggle by compromising the tactical communication.

“After we’ve finished the first half at 0-0 then the tactical confidence grew among our boys. We scored via our top scorer Manelisi Myoli four minutes before fulltime.”

With regards to the City Lads fixture, Malgas said it was always difficult to play against a side they managed to beat at home.

“Given the complacency, we worked more on the insight we had from our last game with them and it paid off.

“We got a red card as early as the 18 minute but already we were 2-0 up. All in all we managed to soldier on until halftime. In the second half there we adopted the tactic of staying very compact in the middle-third and it also paid off as we managed to score two more goals.” Malgas said the plan for the team going forward was to take it one game at a time. “It’s a good exercise because it gives everybody a chance to play, as a result our players have managed to get enough playing time.”

EC Bees coach Chippa Njedu was excited after his new team managed to stay in the Nedbank race as his team was still a young side.

“This gives us hope that again this year we can go far in the tournament because we beat highly-rated teams which is Tornado and FC Buffalo, those aren’t easy teams to beat.

“Playing two games in one day puts a lot of pressure on the team and I am happy the boys composed themselves very well then.”

Njedu said because of the lack of depth in the team, he had to motivate his boys to enable them to be confident they could also emulate last season’s team’s achievements in the tournament. Bees will look to beat the Spear in a league game this weekend before going back to next round of the Nedbank Cup.

“We know that team – how they play and because we have a new team they can’t plan ahead with my players. We are going to try and get a win.”

All the results were:

Butterworth FC 3 Try Again 0, Future Tigers 0 Matta Milan 0 (Matta Milan won 4-2 on penalties), EC Bees 2 Tornado 1, Sibanye 0 FC Buffalo 2, Swartkops Valley United Brothers 1 Highbury 1 (Highbury won 4-3 on penalties), City Lads 2 Bizana Pondo Chiefs 0, Mthatha City 1 Spears 0, City Lads 0 Mthatha City 4, Lion City 1 Highbury 0, EC Bees 2 FC Buffalo 0, Butterworth 1 Matta Milan 1 (Matta Milan won 4-3 on penalties).