Botshabelo-based two rival football clubs D’ General FC and Mathaithai FC managed to avoid each other in the preliminary elimination fixtures of this year’s Nedbank Cup. They are among the four-clubs in the ABC Motsepe League on a tough course to secure a place in the 32-last round of the coveted competition with R100 000 in prize money guaranteed for reaching this stage of the tournament.
The other two teams are Sibanye Golden Stars from Welkom and Excelsior United from the tiny town of Excelsior. D’ General has been paired against newcomers United while Mathaithai will take on Stars. The matches have been scheduled to be staged in Bloemfontein on Saturday (09/10).
The two Botshabelo-based teams paved their way by eliminating crosstown rivals from Bloemfontein, Blackcross and Bloemfontein Young Tigers in their preliminary matches played on Saturday (02/10) at the Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium. However, it took penalty shootouts to progress to progress further in the competition after they were gridlock after the end of the 90-minutes regulation time. Both D’ General and Mathaithai won by 5-4 against their respective opponents.
Stars and United overcame FC Matjhabeng by 4-3 and Dikwena United by
4-2. The winners were also decided through penalty shootouts after the matches finished 1-1.
Saturday’s preliminary matches could see the two Botshabelo teams meet in the final match if they win against Stars and United. The winner thereof will face off the winner of third-tier SAB League to determine the Free State winner that will compete in the last-32 round of the prestigious championship.
ABC Motsepe League campaigners Mathaithai will be looking to make up for last year’s disappointment when disqualified from further participation in the tournament. This was after the South African Football Association (Safa)
suspended all competitions it administered, citing the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The football federation suspended all competitions at the time the country was experiencing a sharp surge of Covid-19. Safa’s decision was in line with the Government Gazzette of South Africa that stipulated that non-professional sport play under strict Covid-19 measures.
Mathaithai were aggrieved by Safa’s decision that ended further participation of all non-professional clubs in this competition which makes provision for clubs competing domestic league competitions. Then the club wrote a strongly worded letter of complaint to the football federation, expressing dismay regarding the decision to disqualify clubs from further participation in the competition.