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.
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.
Free State Stars made history when they lifted the Nedbank Cup for the first time, beating fellow surprise finalists Maritzburg United in a dazzling decider at the Cape Town Stadium.
Goodman Dlamini scored the only goal of the game just before halftime to secure the trophy for Stars, who also booked a place in African club competition for the first time in their history.
Stars had been looking as though they would head out of the competition in the first round as they trailed second-tier Super Eagles into injury-time but Rooi Mahamutsa rescued the situation and they went on to win in extra-time.
They also overcame NFD side Ubuntu Cape Town in a penalty shoot-out and giants Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-finals.
In a tournament of few shocks, Ubuntu proved the giant-killers in their first season as a club, beating both top-tier Polokwane City and AmaZulu on their way to the quarterfinals, where they were narrowly defeated by Stars.
It was also a tournament notable for a goal by former Nedbank Ke Yona Team graduate Bongi Mbuli, who scored for Super Eagles against Stars in their Last 32 clash.
SuperSport United became the first side to win back-to-back Nedbank Cup titles as they again defeated Orlando Pirates in the decider, this time thumping The Buccaneers 4-1 in the decider played in Durban.
It was a repeat of the 2016 final, but this time was more one-sided as SuperSport might have claimed victory by an even greater margin.
Bradley Grobler scored a brace for Matsatsantsa, while Jeremy Brockie, the tournament’s joint top-scorer with three goals, and Kingston Nkhatha were also on target.
Brockie also missed a penalty in the game as Oupa Manyisa netted a late consolation for Pirates.
SuperSport had to reach the final the hard way, playing all four of their matches away from home.
They started with a 2-1 victory over National First Division side Royal Eagles, before claiming a 2-0 success over giant-killers Kwadukuza United, with the third-tier side having ousted Ajax Cape Town in the previous round.
SuperSport edged their quarterfinal against Kaizer Chiefs on penalties after a 1-1 draw, and then also needed spot-kicks to beat Chippa United as the teams played to a goalless stalemate.
Third-tier Acornbush United also produced a giant-killing act of their own when they beat Cape Town City 1-0 in the Last 32.
NFD side Jomo Cosmos also beat eventual league champions BidVest Wits in the second round.
Supporting countrywide participation in the beautiful game
Nedbank is committed to community and sports development from primary school to professional level. Soccer development is very much part of this. Since 2010 Nedbank, through the Sport Affinity and its partnership with The Sports Trust, has encouraged and enabled boy and girl learners in financially stressed communities throughout South Africa to enjoy the beautiful game, develop their skills and lead healthy lives.
At the same time the bank’s support has provided a platform for talent identification and the nurturing of young South African soccer stars as part of growing the game that millions of South Africans are passionate about.
In 2010, the year South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup, Nedbank and The Sports Trust launched the Nedbank Soccer Kits Campaign, providing schools and clubs in all nine provinces with soccer and training kits to support soccer development. Since that year 775 soccer kits and 231 training kits have been provided.
At the kit handover events, many school principals have explained that they are from non-fee-paying schools that do not have the resources to buy their own kits or fund sports facilities. Receiving brand-new kits in their school colours provides untold motivation to the players. Instead of wearing whatever clothes they have, they arrive at games in matching kits in their school colours, looking smart and like a professional side.
In 2012 Nedbank and The Sports Trust took sport support and talent identification to a new level when it embarked on an initiative to build state-of-the-art, multipurpose sport courts in schools and communities. Five sports can be played on one court – five-a-side soccer, netball, basketball, volleyball and tennis.
To date, seven multipurpose sport courts worth R2 million each have been built. These world-class facilities provide access and opportunities for learners, schools and communities to participate in sport and develop their skills.
Many schools and communities in South Africa do not have soccer fields or sport facilities. Keen, young soccer players use open fields, grassed or sand, and mark their playing areas with sticks and cones, using dustbins as goal posts. They love the game and are out there, before and after classes, improving their skills.
‘The extraordinary role and power of sport in the mental and physical development of young people are the reason Nedbank partners with The Sports Trust, enhancing excellence through sport from the youngest age,’ says Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank.
He explains that in addition to the kits and multipurpose sport courts, Nedbank’s long-term soccer development drive has included sponsoring the Nedbank Cup and driving the highly successful Nedbank Cup corporate social investment Goals4Goals campaign and the Nedbank #PlayYourPart campaign.
The seventh sport court handover took place on 19 September 2022 at Soshanguve South Secondary School in Tshwane as part of the #PlayYourPart campaign, which gave the 2022 Nedbank Cup winners, Mamelodi Sundowns, the opportunity to choose a school in their community where the sport court would be built.