All KZN sides in Cup ties

2014-03-22 00:00

THE PSL has been frantic over the last fortnight with weekend and midweek fixtures stretching teams to their maximum as they eye strong finishes to the campaign.

But this weekend attention shifts to the Nedbank Cup’s round of 16, where all three KwaZulu-Natal clubs will be in action today.

At 3 pm AmaZulu host Wits at Princess Magogo Stadium and Maritzburg United travel to Platinum Stars, while a late 8.15 pm kick-off sees relegation-threatened Golden Arrows up against it when they host Mamelodi Sundowns at Umlazi’s King Zwelithini Stadium.

Under Steve Komphela, United have been experiencing somewhat of rejuvenation and they will fancy their chances against a Stars side that they will meet again a week from today in a league encounter. But it has been a gruelling period for the Team of Choice, and Komphela has relied largely on the same group of players for his last three league outings.

The result of that fixture congestion might be that Komphela rests some of his bigger names today. Club captain Michael Morton and his central midfield partner Ryan de Jongh are certainly in need of a rest, while the likes of centre-back Mohamed Awal, winger Heini Isaacks and midfilder Ashley Harthog will be desperate to be handed a rare start.

With moving up the league table clearly United’s priority at this point — they remain in 13th place just five points clear of safety — today could be the perfect opportunity for some new faces to take to the pitch.

For Arrows — rock bottom of the PSL table — the opportunity to play a match without any league consequences has been welcomed by caretaker coach Shaun Bartlett. His philosophy is that every game will bring about more confidence as his side prepares a great escape from relegation, and a victory against all odds today would go a long way towards restoring some faith in Umlazi.

AmaZulu are the only side who can rest easy in the knowledge that they will be playing in the country’s top league next season, and the Nedbank Cup as an opportunity to bring silverware to Durban.

“We have had two very difficult league games against Wits this season [a draw and a loss] so this is a tricky situation,” said Usuthu coach Craig Rosslee, whose side are coming off back-to-back league wins against Maritzburg United and Polokwane City. “Hopefully we can take our form into this lucrative competition. We want to do well and there is a lot at stake.”

Rosslee’s only injury concern is striker Bongani Ndulula, who was pulled off midway through the second half in the win over Polokwane.

But Ndulula’s replacement and new signing Lucky Nguzana netted the winner in the final minute of the match, and the former Golden Arrows man comes into contention for his first AmaZulu start should Ndulula not recover.

“Lucky bolsters our strike force, so we go into the game with a full squad of players that are fit with the exception of Bongani,” said Rosslee. “It is now about how we manage the players who played the full 90 minutes [on Wednesday] and how we bring in those who didn’t.”

All three KZN matches today will be televised — AmaZulu on SABC 1, and United and Arrows on SuperSport Four.




3 pm - AmaZulu v Wits, Platinum Stars v Maritzburg Utd. 8.15 pm - Golden Arrows v Mamelodi Sundowns


3 pm - Bloem Celtic v Witbank Spurs, African Warriors v Milano United.

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