It might not quite be on the Richter scale of the largest of Nedbanlk Cup surprises, but it will certainly be a major shock if Stellenbosch FC can take down Mamelodi Sundowns today in the last 32 of the Nedbank Cup.
The absence of the eight amateur sides from this season’s competition, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, has left the giant-killing job in this year’s tournament to sides from the GladAfrica Championship, as well as those less-fancied teams from the DStv Premiership.
The latter applies to Stellenbosch, especially against the might of Masandawana, and Stellies coach Steven Barker even went as far as admitting he harbours hopes of lifting the trophy with the Mother City-based side.
However, he is aware of the task at hand, made even trickier by the fact that Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena has suggested they will field a full strength team.
“I believe we can do well against Sundowns, we might not have the Safa teams but us beating Sundowns will go down as a big win and that is what this competition is about, it is what gives us hope. We dream of lifting the trophy,” said Barker, who wants his side to tighten up their defending, if they are to have a chance of progressing to the last 16.
“What we are disappointed in is some of the soft goals that we have given away … some of the goals that we scored this season have been good goals, but unfortunately the goals we have conceded have been largely through our mistakes. We have to be on our toes, we cannot afford such mistakes against a team like Sundowns.
“We are looking forward to it and not many people are expecting us to get the result. All the pressure will be on Sundowns and not on us. We can go there and play with some courage and bravery and at the same time try to nullify all of the threats that they have,” he added.