THE Nedbank Cup holds a very special place in Pitso Mosimane’s heart.
The “national cup”, as Mosimane refers to the Ke Yona tournament, plays a significant role in the growth of domestic football and the Mamelodi Sundowns coach certainly doesn’t underestimate its prestige.
The Brazilians travel back to Athlone Stadium to face National First Division side Cape Town All Stars in their opening Nedbank Cup fixture tomorrow (8pm).
And they will be looking for nothing but a perfect start as they embark on their campaign to reclaim the trophy they last captured three seasons ago.
“It’s an emotional tournament for me because it embraces the lower teams,” enthused Mosimane.
“The further they go in the tournament, the more money they get?.?.?. hopefully to save and to strength their teams to gain promotion from their division.
“It gives us new players. Look at the Baroka players who came through the cup – and (Aubrey) Modiba.
“It has meaning. It empowers everybody. It gives you a chance to go the Caf Confederation Cup.
“Manchester United won the Europa Cup from the FA Cup and got to go to the Uefa Champions League?.?.?. and they are still there. You see the spin-offs. We copy good things.”
Mosimane also acknowledged the rich Nedbank Cup history, which is littered with many stories of “upsets”.
The astute trainer has done thorough homework on his opponents, being wary of a possible early cup exit.
As expected, he will ring the changes to his regular starting lineup to give fringe players a run, but will also “strike a balance”.
All Stars are 10th in the NFD, 15 points adrift of NFD pacesetters Highlands Park.
“We got footage. My analyst provided the information,” said Mosimane.
“They pass the ball well, they come out from the back. They have a good centre-back in Msekeli Mvalo and the No 8 who, like Sugar (Tiyani Mabunda), makes them play. They are well-coached and I think we are going to have a football match.
“So we have to be careful to not get caught, to not disrespect the opponents and then do ‘an Arsenal’ and lose the FA Cup.
“I have history with the Nedbank Cup. Black Leopards have always given me problems. There are always stories about the cup, Baroka, Maluti College?.?.?. We don’t forget these things.”
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