Nedbank Cup semi-finals preview

Cape Town - An action-packed weekend of knock-out football is upon us & we’re not talking about the FA Cup. It's the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup. 

On Saturday evening, Kaizer Chiefs will take on Free State Stars in the first Semi-Final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium while Maritzburg United play hosts to Mamelodi Sundowns at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Kaizer Chiefs v Free State Stars

Kaizer Chiefs

Should this Kaizer Chiefs team fail to win the Nedbank Cup this season, it will be the only Amakhosi squad to have not won silverware for three consecutive years. 

If you had to ask a Kaizer Chiefs supporter why they think their team has been unsuccessful during this period, they will tell two words - Steve Komphela. For this reason, Steve Komphela's departure from the club at the end of the season is all but guaranteed.

Nevertheless, Kaizer Chiefs go into this fixture in relatively good form after a 1-0 win against soon to be relegated Platinum Stars.

Free State Stars

Ironically, one of the men linked to the Kaizer Chiefs positions is Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael. The Belgian has had stellar season, he took a team battling to avoid relegation last season to the fifth best team in the PSL.

Free State Stars came in to form during the middle of the season, winning 7 of 10 games through December to the end of January. However, their form slightly tapered off in the latter stages of their campaign. 

No one expected them to win the league so, all in all, this season has been a success. A cup win would be the cherry on top.

Prediction: has Kaizer Chiefs as the favourites at 1.05, and Free State Stars 2.45 for the win.

Around 3 years ago, when Kaizer Chiefs were in a semi-final of a cup competition, it was easy to predict an Amakhosi win. Nowadays it’s not that straightforward.

Kaizer Chiefs have the better players on paper but Luc Eymael has his team playing attractive and clinical football. All the pressure is on Steve Komphela as he chases his first piece of silverware. He will need to win the Nedbank Cup or else his time at Chiefs will be seen as a complete failure.

At the beginning of the month, Kaizer Chiefs beat Free State Stars in the league and I foresee the same result. Chiefs will beat Free State Star for the second time on Saturday evening. 

Maritzburg United v Mamelodi Sundowns

Maritzburg United

Behind only Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, Maritzburg United has played the most exciting football in the league this season. Fadlu Davids’ philosophy of short passing and pace in attack has been a marvel to watch. 

Maritzburg United will be high on confidence after beating Baroka 2-0 in their latest PSL fixture. 

Mamelodi Sundowns

Mamelodi Sundowns, for all intents and purposes, wrapped up the Absa Premiership title on Tuesday night when they beat Golden Arrows 1-0. They only need 4 points from their last 3 games and that's if Orlando Pirates win all of their remaining matches. 

Last year, Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe paid Pitso Mosimane the ultimate compliment by calling him "Sundowns’ own Sir Alex Ferguson". Following those comments, Pitso will be looking to emulate the Scott’s achievement in 1999 and win a treble (the league, a cup, and the champions league). 

Prediction: Maritzburg United are underdogs at 1.95 and Mamelodi Sundowns are at 1.30 for the win.

Maritzburg United are at their best when they are at home. Their slick passing, movement, and their on-form Belgian striker, Andréa Fileccia, is a hand full to contain.

Mamelodi Sundowns seem to have sorted out their defensive frailties (which coincided with the benching of Motjeka Madisha, coincidence?) as they have only conceded 5 goals in their last 10 games. While Percy Tau is playing like a man possessed. Defences can't seem to handle his movement and speed. He’s been head and shoulders Sundowns best player this season.

While Sunday’s game will be a great advert for South African football. I do believe with their solid defence and menacing attack, Mamelodi Sundowns may have a bit too much quality for Maritzburg United. Therefore, I predict a Sundowns win in an exciting game of football.

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