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4/20/2022 12:00:00 AM

Teams playing for more than Nedbank Cup glory

PIC: Tebogo Thangwane of Marumo Gallants is challenged by Zemanga of TP Mazembe during the 2021-22 CAF Confederation Cup

There is a very real possibility that the team from the Nedbank Cup final that represents South Africa in the CAF Confederation Cup in the 2022/23 will come from the semifinal tie between second-tier TTM and Marumo Gallants.

That is because Royal AM meet Mamelodi Sundowns in the other Last 4 games and there is a high probability that one or both of those would have already secured CAF club competition via their league placing.

If that is the case, then win or lose the Nedbank Cup final and TTM or Gallants would participate in African club competition. For the latter it would be the second year in a row as they came into this Nedbank Cup campaign as holders.

Sundowns are nailed on to play in the CAF Champions League next season with their runaway lead at the top of the DStv Premiership, which will very shortly deliver them another domestic title.

So if they make the final, whoever they play will qualify for the Confederation Cup, no matter the scoreline in the decider.

Royal AM are currently four points clear in second place in the league, so could very well grab the other Champions League place, or at the very least qualify for the Confederation Cup by finishing third. 

It has happened before. Black Leopards qualified for African competition in 2012 despite losing the 2011 Nedbank Cup decider to Orlando Pirates, who had qualified for the Champions League.

The same was true in 2014 when SuperSport United qualified despite losing to Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup final the year before, Ajax Cape Town (2016) likewise after losing to Sundowns, and Bloemfontein Celtic (2020-21) after also losing the final to The Brazilians. 

If TTM qualify for the Confederation Cup, they would be the second lower league side to do so after TS Galaxy in 2019/20.

Here is a list of the teams that have qualified via the Nedbank Cup and how they fared.



Sundowns had a bye through the first round before a handsome 9-1 aggregate success over Mauritian side AS Vacoas-Phoenix. They came up against top DR Congo side AS Vita Club after that and following a 2-2 draw at home, lost 1-0 in Kinshasa with South African Chris O’Loughlin in charge of the Congolese.



Swallows defeated Mauritian side Pamplemousse SC in the first round after comfortable 2-1 and 3-0 successes, but came unstuck against CAPS United in the second stage, drawing 1-1 away but then losing 1-0 at home.



For the third year running the Nedbank Cup champions were ousted in the second round as Wits defeated St Marienne from Reunion 4-1 on aggregate, despite a surprise 1-0 defeat away from home. They then lost to Madagascan side AS Adema in the second round, following a 1-1 draw at home and a 2-0 loss away.



Leopards took their place in the competition as Nedbank Cup winners Orlando Pirates, who beat Lidoda Duvha 3-1 in the final, also qualified for the Champions League competition. And what a ride it was for the Limpopo side! They defeated Zimbabwean side Motor Action in the first round 3-1 in aggregate, before coming through a tough second round tie with DR Congo side St Eloi Lupopo 6-4. When they lost 3-1 away at Nigerian side Warri Wolves, it appeared their run was over, but they claimed a 2-0 success in the home leg and advanced on the away goals rule. That set up a meeting with top Sudanese side, where they lost 3-2 away, and were held to a 0-0 draw at home to end their group phase dreams.



United edged DR Congo side Don Bosco 4-3 on aggregate in the first round and then got the better of Angolan side Petro Atletico 2-0. But they came unstuck against Egyptian outfit ENPPI with a 3-1 aggregate loss.



United were back again despite their 1-0 Nedbank Cup final loss to Kaizer Chiefs as the letter entered the Champions League competition. Matsatsantsa ousted Gaborone United from Botswana in the first round 3-0 on aggregate, before beating AFC Leopards from Kenya 4-2. That set up a meeting with Tunisian giants Etoile du Sahel, which the North Africans won 5-1 on aggregate.



Pirates came ever so close to lifting the Confederation Cup trophy but suffered a 2-1 aggregate loss to Etoile du Sahel in the final. They beat Uganda Revenue Authority (4-3 on aggregate), FC Mounana from Gabon (5-2) and AS Kaloum from Guinea (6-1) to reach the pool stages. They started with a 1-0 win over AC Leopards from Congo-Brazzaville, before a 2-1 loss to Egypt¹s Zamalek set them back. However, back-to-back wins over CS Sfaxien (1-0 and 2-0) got their campaign back on track and when they defeated Leopards 2-0 had booked their semifinal spot and could afford a 4-1 loss to Zamalek in their final pool match. Pirates then claimed 1-0 and 4-3 successes over Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the semifinals, before falling at the final hurdle against the Tunisians.



Ajax competed in the competition as Nedbank Cup champions Mamelodi Sundowns took part in the Champions League, which they would ultimately go on and win. But Ajax fell at the first hurdle despite gaining an excellent 2-1 away win at Angolan side Sagrada Esperanca. They lost the home leg 2-0 and were beaten on aggregate.



SuperSport took their place by virtue of winning the Nedbank Cup in 2016 and did not disappoint, playing a massive 18 games in the competition as they made it all the way through to the final. They would end as unlucky 2-1 losers to DR Congo side TP Mazembe in the final despite dominating large parts of both legs. Striker Jeremy Brockie finished as top scorer in the Confederation Cup with 10 goals. 



SuperSport returned to the Confederation Cup by virtue of their back-to-back Nedbank Cup wins, again claiming the 2017 title by beating Orlando Pirates once more. Having made the final the year before, they found the going tougher this time round, but beat Petro Atletico 2-1 on aggregate in the first round. That set up a play-off clash with Kenyan side Gor Mahia, but after a 2-2 aggregate draw, Matsatsantsa bowed out on the away goals rule.  



A change in the timing of the Confederation Cup saw it move from the traditional February-November to August-May. Free State Stars were South Africa’s representatives after they beat Maritzburg United 1-0 in the 2018 Nedbank Cup decider. Their adventure would not last long though as they were drawn with Rwandan side Mukura Victory Sports. A 0-0 home draw was followed by a 1-0 away defeat in East Africa.


2019-20 TS GALAXY

TS Galaxy made history by becoming the first second-tier side to lift the Nedbank Cup when they defeated Kaizer Chiefs in the 2019 decider. The club were barely a year old then, but now had the challenge of taking their brand onto the African continent as well. They started with a pair of 1-0 wins over Seychelles side Saint Louis Suns United, and followed that up with a superb 4-1 aggregate win over CNaPS Sport from Madagascar, again both ties resulting in wins. That set up a play-off clash with Nigerian giants Enyimba and it proved a bridge too far as Galaxy last 4-1 on aggregate. 



Celtic were the fourth beaten finalists to win their place in the competition since 2008 and made it to the second round on what was their debut in African club competition. They came up against DR Congo outfit AS Maniema Union and claimed something of a surprise 2-0 win away in Kindu despite sending what was a second-string side as the squad battled a hectic fixture schedule. The return match was won by the visitors by the same scoreline, sending the match to penalties where Celtic triumphed 3-2. That set up a second round meeting with Nigerian outfit Rivers United that was complicated by the fact that Celtic could not enter the west African nation without going through two weeks of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They lost the home leg 2-0 and then played the away game in neutral Benin, losing 3-0 to go down 5-0 on aggregate and end their African adventure.      



Gallants had won the Nedbank Cup the year before while the club was still using the name Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, which could cause some confusion for generations to come. They caused quite a stir in the Confederation Cup that followed, coming within a whisker of making the pool stages. They saw off the challenge of Equatorial Guinea side Futuro Kings 4-2 on aggregate, but then faced the might of DR Congo side AS Vita Club. Not many gave them a chance, but after a 2-1 home win they scrambled a 1-1 draw on the road with a late, late equaliser from Sibusiso Nkosi. That set up another meeting with a DR Congo side, this time TP Mazembe. They lost 1-0 in Lubumbashi after an own goal from skipper Lehlohonolo Nonyane, and were held to a 0-0 draw at home to bow out. But it was an excellent campaign from the Limpopo side nonetheless.