Our football analyst previews the Nedbank Cup quarterfinal action which kicks off on Saturday 31 March 2018.
Ubuntu Cape Town are having a fairytale run in the Nedbank Cup this season! Having already knocked out two PSL giants, this time they host Free State Stars. The last eight action will also have nostalgic fans getting flashbacks of the 2011 tournament where Baroka, who were then a third tier side, shocked Kaizer Chiefs. Who will emerge victorious when they lock horns on this occasion?
Also, on the menu is the headline fixture of the round, Cape Town City go head to head with Mamelodi Sundowns. Elsewhere, Maritzburg United will have homeground advantage when they battle it out with Bloemfontein Celtic. Here are my predictions…
Saturday 31 March
Maritzburg United 11/10
Bloemfontein Celtic 5/2
Maritzburg United are enjoying their best season to date as they sit third on the PSL standings. Homeground support has been superb at Harry Gwala Stadium and with players like Siphesihle Ndlovu having recently gained Bafana Bafana experience, their opponents know that they’ll have a tough day at the office.
Bloemfontein Celtic are the most inconsistent side in the PSL with eight defeats, eights draws and eight wins. Phunya Sele Sele are good in knockout competitions though, having reached this season’s Telkom Knockout final. However, they have failed to win a single match away from home in their last eight outings. My money is on the home side.
Ubuntu Cape Town 9/2
Free State Stars 13/20
Ubuntu Cape Town have already beaten two PSL sides in the shape of Polokwane City and AmaZulu to reach this stage of the competition. They have played four matches since the appointment of Richard Casey Prince as head coach, winning the first three and losing the fourth one last week. They’re second from bottom on the NFD standings.
Free State Stars were so poor against Chippa United in their most recent outing which they lost 1-0. Coach Luc Eymael heavily blamed it on the conditions and called the pitch unplayable due to heavy rains. Ea Lla Koto lie fourth on the PSL standings and have been able to grind out results this season. Ubuntu’s fairytale is over, back Free State Stars.
Kaizer Chiefs 5/10
Kaizer Chiefs are winless in their last three league matches and that has put a great deal of pressure on Steve Komphela to win the Nedbank Cup to salvage the season as league title hopes have vanished. Poor attendance at the FNB Stadium has prompted them to take the match to Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Baroka head into this one with revenge on their minds as Kaizer Chiefs have finally managed to record their first victory over them. Leonardo Castro’s winner was named the PSL Goal of the Month for February last week. Get on Chiefs to edge it.
Sunday 1 April
Cape Town City 21/10
Mamelodi Sundowns 13/10
Having crashed out of the CAF Confederations Cup and with no hope of challenging for the league, this is Benni McCarthy’s last chance of winning some silverware and he made a statement by knocking out Orlando Pirates who were among the favourites to reach this stage. Cape Town City will also be motivated by the fact that the final will be in their hometown and they’re dying to be a part of that.
Sundowns are really showing championship mentality this season as they top the PSL standings with a game in hand. The Brazilians have also made it to the CAF Champions League Group Stage. Percy Tau continued his sizzling form for Bafana Bafana against Zambia when he netted in the Four Nations Tournament final. This is a tough one and I’ll keep it safe and back either side to win – Cape Town City or Sundowns at 29/100.
QUAD @ 57/10
Maritzburg United Win 11/10
Free State Stars Win 13/20
Kaizer Chiefs Win 5/10
CT City vs Sundowns – Home or Away 29/100