“It was a good final for the supporters and a good advert for Nedbank,” a disappointed Sekhukhune coach Brandon Truter said. “I am extremely proud of the boys with the strides we have made this season. I can’t be bitter about this result, I am sure there will be other finals.
“I can’t ask more from the players, they are very coachable, and you cannot ask for more than that. It is not a good feeling, but we learn from it. Congratulations to Orlando Pirates, it has been a fantastic season for them.”
Pirates follow up their trophy wins in 2011 and 2014 with this year’s trophies, which makes up for back-to-back defeats in the final to SuperSport United in 2016 and 2017.
This was Sekhukhune’s first major final, but they will no doubt be back again having shown their tremendous talent this season.
Stellenbosch FC forward Iqraam Rayners finishes with the 2023 Golden Boot following his six goals.
There were 96 goals scored in the 31 games during this campaign, a very healthy average of 3.10 per match.
Mamelodi Sundowns regained the Nedbank Cup title they had won two years before and in doing so defeated holders Marumo Gallants 2-1 after extra-time in the decider.
Peter Shalulile put Sundowns head just past the half-hour mark, but Ivorian forward Sede Dion equalised for the Limpopo outfit.
It looked like the final would be heading for penalties before Thapelo Morena scored a 120th minute winner for The Brazilians, this after the previous year’s final hero, Gallants’ Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, had been sent off for two bookable offences.
There were some notable surprises, as TS Galaxy continued their 2019 form by knocking Kaizer Chiefs out in the Last 32, while we had the unusual sight of four amateur teams in the Last 16.
Durban-based Summerfield Dynamos, coached by Clinton Larsen, made it to the quarterfinals before they lost 5-0 to Sundowns.
Second-tier TTM, not the same club that won in 2021, made the semifinal but lost 1-0 to Gallants in a strange quirk of fate, while Sundowns defeated Royal AM 2-1 in the Last 4.
Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila have made history by winning their first ever major trophy, lifting the Nedbank Cup at the Free State Stadium on Saturday evening after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Chippa United.
This battle between two teams who are under very real threat of relegation from the top flight did not always demonstrate the highest levels of quality, but the fight and heart shown by both sides was a credit to South African football.
Tshakhuma started the stronger of the two teams, with the likes of Thabo Rakhale, Celimpilo Ngema and Thabo Mnyamane seeing plenty of the ball and forcing Chippa onto the back foot in the early minutes.
The Eastern Cape side gradually settled into a rhythm and began to establish themselves in the game, but TTM then claimed the lead out of nothing in the 27th minute. Ndabayithethwa Ndlondo tried his luck from long range and saw his effort deflect off the head of defender Frederic Nsabiyumva to wrong-foot goalkeeper Ismail Watenga and find the back of the net for 1-0.
The most extraordinary of Nedbank Cup campaigns that started in February and only concluded in September as the COVID-19 pandemic put local football on hold for several months.
Mamelodi Sundowns would lift the crown for the fourth time in their history – and the third since Nedbank took over sponsorship in 2008 – as they defeated Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 in the final.
It looked as though the match could be headed for extra-time, but Uruguayan forward Gaston Sirino popped up with a moment of magic to steal the limelight and secure a domestic ‘treble’ for Sundowns.
This would also be the last game in charge of the side for coach Pitso Mosimane, who left shortly afterwards to join Al Ahly.
The competition did throw up one major surprise and piece of history when fourth-tier Vaal University of Technology defeated Lamontville Golden Arrows on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the Last 32.
It is the first time ever that a fourth-tier side have advanced past top-flight opposition, with VUT exiting in the next stage after a 2-0 loss to Sundowns, where they showed great character and resilience again.
This was the year that history was made as National First Division side TS Galaxy defied the odds to become the first ever second-tier side to lift the Nedbank Cup.
It was not uncommon for teams from the NFD to make the final – Mpumalanga Black Aces, Moroka Swallows and Black Leopards had all done it in the previous 11 years.
But none had gone on to win and it was Galaxy who would write their names into football folklore as striker Zakhele Lepasa, on loan from Orlando Pirates, struck a late penalty to beat Kaizer Chiefs in the final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
It was a massive history, but fully deserved for the Dan Malesela-coached side, who had been inspirational through the competition, also seeing off top-flight opposition in the semifinals as they defeated Lamontville Golden Arrows 3-1.
Chiefs had scares in the first two rounds when they needed extra-time to defeat ABC Motsepe League sides Tornado FC (1-0) and The Magic (3-0), while Orlando Pirates fell in the Last 32 on penalties to Black Leopards.
Chippa United ousted Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 in the Last 32 and made it all the way to the semifinals before they lost 4-2 to Chiefs.
Top-flight Polokwane City lost out to second-tier fellow Limpopo side TTM in the first round, letting a lead slip to go down 2-1.