Nedbank Cup on brink of milestone with 150th club
PIC: Phillip Ndlondlo of Orlando Pirates challenged by Siyethemba Sithebe of Kaizer Chiefs
The as yet unnamed club from the SAFA structures in Mpumalanga that will compete in the Nedbank Cup Last 32 this year will potentially be the 150th different team to feature in South Africa’s most prestigious knockout competition since 2008.
There have been 149 clubs take part to date, and as long as the amateur entrant is not a repeat from previous years, they will bring up the 150-mark.
The team is due to host DStv Premiership giants Orlando Pirates so will have a plum tie to look forward to in the last 32, which is to be played in the week between February 20-27.
Eighteen clubs have appeared in 10 or more seasons of the Nedbank Cup, including the 2024 campaign, with six teams having been ever-presents.
AmaZulu, Kaizer Chiefs, Lamontville Golden Arrows, Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United are all appearing for the 17th time having competed in every year.
Maritzburg United are one shy of that, while Cape Town Spurs, mostly under the banner of Ajax Cape Town, are making their 15th appearance this year.
A huge total of 65 clubs have made only a single appearance, earning their place in the spotlight for one Nedbank Cup campaign, never to be seen again.
Some are no longer, like Northern Cape side Powerlines FC, who were beaten 24-0by Mamelodi Sundowns in 2012, while ithers are very much alive and kicking and could well return to Last 32 draw in the coming years.
There are six known debutants this year – second-tier NB La Masia, and SAFA sides D’General, FC Ravens, Madridtas, Spain FC and Paarl United. The team from Mpumalanga could add to that.
Two of the SAFA teams have competed before – Highlands Park are a famous name in south African football and return for a sixth appearance since 2008.
NC Professionals are in their third campaign and will hope to make it past the Last 32 for the first time. They lost to Mbombela United in 2019 and Mathaithai in 2022.
Several of those teams that have appeared only once before have still managed giant-killing acts.
ALS PUK Tuwana defeated Platinum Stars in 2010, Acornbush dumped out Cape Town City in 2017, and that same year Kwadukuza United beat Ajax Cape Town in the Last 32.
We will have to see which debutants can make their mark in 2024, and which teams can make a return in the coming years.
TEN OR MORE NEDBANK CUP SEASONS SINCE 2008
Includes the 2024 campaign
AmaZulu - 17
Kaizer Chiefs - 17
Lamontville Golden Arrows - 17
Mamelodi Sundowns - 17
Orlando Pirates - 17
SuperSport United - 17
Maritzburg United - 16
Cape Town Spurs - 15
Bloemfontein Celtic - 14
Free State Stars - 14
Moroka Swallows - 14
BidVest Wits - 13
Black Leopards - 12
Chippa United - 12
Polokwane City - 12
Platinum Stars - 11
Jomo Cosmos - 10
University of Pretoria - 10