Kaizer Chiefs are no strangers to this phenomenon, having exited the competition in the early stages a number of times before. Amakhosi are dubbed ‘cup kings’ in South African, having collected numerous trophies over the year, but the Nedbank Cup has eluded them several times.
The most memorable loss by an Absa Premiership side to a lower league team was in a match between Maluti FET College beating Orlando Pirates 4-1.
A mistake made by the big teams taking part in the domestic competition is doubting the quality of the lower league teams. Assuming that a team from two tiers below the lucrative Absa Premiership doesn’t have players who can compete is not wise.
Amakhosi would field fringe players when facing a side from the SAB League, which would give the newly formed starting XI from Amakhosi a run for their money. The lower league clubs have an advantage over the lions that have teamed up to try and overpower the little ones.
Chemistry is important in a team, so having played against other teams as a unit comes in handy on the day the clubs face a disjointed coalition. The lower league teams have more time to formulate a system that is perfect for them while the big guys have to react to what is thrown to them.
In this year’s edition of the 32-team knockout competition, the lower First National Division sides Ubuntu Cape Town and Mthatha Bucks will face AmaZulu and Polokwane City in the first round before Cape Town All Stars try their luck with Mamelodi Sundowns.