Amakhosi up for Nedbank Cup Challenge

Kaizer Chiefs will kick off their quest for a 14th Nedbank Cup crown with a home tie against GladAfrica Championship side Richards Bay on Sunday afternoon. The record Nedbank Cup winners and 19-time finalists aim to progress to the round of 16. In 1971, Chiefs won their first Nedbank Cup crown. Half a century later, the club will be looking to win the trophy they last won in 2013, to celebrate their achievement from fifty years ago.

Standing in Chiefs’ way is Richards Bay who are currently second in the GladAfrica Championship and have been doing well this season as they push for promotion to the DStv Premiership. This will be the first meeting between Chiefs and Richards Bay. Although Amakhosi have previously faced them in their previous incarnations as Benoni Premier United and Thanda Royal Zulu, before they had been sold off to different owners.

Amakhosi midfielder Dumsani Zuma is hoping to use this game as a springboard for Chiefs to get back to winning ways after their loss last Saturday. “This game presents us with a good chance to bounce back after our last game. I think it’s going to be good for the players who are not playing regularly as they could feature,” says Zuma

The game against Richards bay will be Chiefs’ 27th match in the competition since 1996-97 against a team from outside of the top-flight. Of their previous 26, Chiefs have won 21 games and lost 5 despite Chiefs opponents featuring in a tier below them. Zuma is not taking them lightly and warned saying: “It’s very difficult to play against teams you don’t know too much about. We need to stick to our own philosophy and play to win.”

Last season Chiefs exited the competition in the Round of 16 phase and will be looking to progress further this time out. Amakhosi were the first winners of this tournament back in 1971 when it was still known as the Life Challenge Cup. They started that tournament with a 10-0 win over lower division opponents Brakpan Rovers in October 1971.

Amakhosi do have the know-how to do well in the competition and will call upon their past experiences to help them navigate beyond their opening game. Coach Gavin Hunt is also highly experienced in the competition, having lifted the trophy twice previously as coach of Moroka Swallows in 2004 and 2012 with SuperSport. He was also a finalist with SuperSport in 2013 losing to Chiefs in the last game of the competition.

Chiefs head into the game minus defender Siyabonga Ngezana who is suspended, while the injured duo of Lebohang Lesako and Khama Billiat are still sidelined. The pair have been progressing as both have moved on with their rehabilitation work and have moved onto working out in the gym. Khama has removed a protective boot from his leg, while there will be a late decision on Ramahlwe Mphahlele’s inclusion in the match day squad as he will be going for scan.

The match will take place at FNB Stadium and be live on DStv Channel 202 at 17:00 on Sunday afternoon.

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