Nedbank Cup: A look at all semi-professional sides
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 (13:44)
Nedbank Cup Trophy @ Backpagepix
Nedbank Cup Trophy @ Backpagepix
Ahead of Thursday evening 2014 Nedbank Cup last 32 draw, profiles the semi-professional football clubs looking to find glory in the competition.

These teams will join the eight National First Division Nedbank Cup qualifying sides, as well as the 16 Absa Premiership clubs in the round of 32.

Bloemfontein Young Tigers

Young Tigers are perhaps one of South Africa’s most well-known lower division clubs, the team having been in existence since 1925.

Currently playing out of the Botshabelo Stadium, Tigers previously spent a 10-year spell up until 2005 playing in the First Division, while in 1997 they reached the semi-final of Bobsave SuperBowl where they lost out to Kaizer Chiefs.

The team are coached by Khoarai "British" Khoarai, while the club captain is Marco Khooa.

Bloemfontein Young Tigers have proven to be a fertile breeding ground for future star players, and have produced talents such as Bafana Bafana midfielder Kagiso Dikgacoi, now playing in England for Crystal Palace. Former Kaizer Chiefs wing-back Diketho Mototo also started out at Tigers, as did Arrows defender Mzivukile Tom and a host of other former and present PSL players, including Abram Raselemane (late), Jan Sillo (late), Cecil Oerson, Patrick Malokase, Tshepo Motsoeneng, Duncan Lechesa, Khumbulane Konco, Boitumelo Moleyane, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Sugar Khasane.

Gamalakhe United FC

Based in the Gamalakhe location near Port Shepstone, the South Coast outfit are looking to make their mark on the SA soccer map in the 2014 Nedbank Cup.

Originally founded in 1986, Gamalakhe have been a mainstay in their community for nearly 30-years now and have been playing in the Second Division for the last four seasons. Home games are played at the Ugu Sports Complex.

The team is coached by Keketso Mokoatle and are captained by Bongikosi Nzima. Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates defender Ayanda Gcaba is a former Gamalakhe player, as is Tamsanqa Teyise, the AmaZulu player, so too are African Warriors players Rodney Nzimandze and Nkosinathi Myeni.

FC Buffalo

Based in East London, Buffalo City have been around since 2006, watching as the likes of Bay United and Blackburn Rovers have risen and fallen. In 2008 the club bought out a Second Division franchise and a year later were at the first division play-offs, where despite going unbeaten in the round robin phase, lost out to eventual winners Chippa United.

The team is coached by Velile Dyaloyi, a former Bay United man, and are captained by Pheheleo Moses. Former Santos and Bush Bucks defender Charles Gallagher recently signed for the team.

Notable former players for the club include Bafana Bafana winger Luyolo Nomandela, as well as Nathaniel Motseothatha November, who went on to join SuperSport United. Sthembile Taliwe went on to play for Carara kicks while Matome Madimabe represented Free State Stars for many years.

Great North FC

Great North hail from Seshego in the Limpopo and were formed in 2000, the club previously having played under the name of Super Eagles FC. Club owner Harry Ledwaba is the son of former Ria Stars boss Ria Ledwaba.

They gained promotion to the Second Division at the end of the 2011/ 2012 season and have twice lost to Baroka FC in previous Nedbank Cup qualifying games.

The club has developed several players who have gone on to play in the top leagues, including Tlou Molekwane (Polokwane City), Tiyani Mabunda (Mamelodi Sundowns), Philadi Kobola (MP Black Aces) and the late La Te Takalo Isaihah, who played for Polokwane.

Head coach Thomas Ledingwana is a former Dynamos FC player. The team captain is Marumo Mashiane, a player from the Orlando Pirates development side.

Mbombela United FC The origins of the club began when club owners Skhumbuzo and Oupa Matsebula, who hail from nearby KaNyamazane, funded Tornado Football Club, before then buying the franchise of Third Division team Manchester United, the club being renamed to Mbombela United.

The club are very much a ‘Peoples’ Team’ as they brand themselves, Mbombela United proudly serving the people of Nelspruit.

Known fondly as ‘Tingwenyama’, they were one hurdle away from qualifying for the last 16 of the 2013 Nedbank Cup, bowing out to Vasco da Gama. Mbombela dominated the Mpumalanga steam of the Second Division last season, scoring 69 goals, conceding just 18, while winning 26 and losing not a single one of their 30 matches, an indication that this team means business.

The club’s head coach is Alex Zondi, who is assisted by Mfanimphela Maseko.

Mainstay United FC

Mainstay United will be carrying the hopes of the Northern Cape on their shoulders. The club will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in August, having been formed back in 1989.

Mainstay are based near the tiny towns of Kalksloot and Sesbrugge, which lie about 15 kilometres outside of Upington. The Kalksloot Stadium is their slaughter-house, the team coached by Galiel Pelwan and captained by Dingaan Ramatsa, they currently play in the SAB Third Division.

University of Stellenbosch

Also known as Maties FC, the club has been in existence for well over 60-years, having been formed in 1947.Tapping in to the large student base in the picturesque town of Stellenbosch, Maties FC are coached by Reggie Jantjies, who was a brilliant midfielder playmaker for Hellenic in the late 1980’s and early 90’s.

The team is captained by Johnwin Lewis, and their go-to man for goals is Alcardo van Graan, the former Ajax Cape Town and Milano United striker.

The club’s achievement in reaching the last 32 was made all the more notable by the fact that they are currently playing in the SAB Third Division (SAFA Cape Winelands) after being relegated from the Second Division last season. Home games are played at the Coetzenberg Stadium, a venue that is occasionally used for PSL matches as well.

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