The Nedbank Cup round of 32 begins this weekend with defending champions, Free State Stars hosting National First Division side Richards Bay. Ea Lla Koto will be out to kick start their campaign on a good footing, however, they face a relatively unknown side who they have minimal information about.
Former Moroka Swallows centre-forward, Shaun Haschick has given us his predictions on the following matches. Do you agree with his choices?
Free State Stars v Richards Bay FC (Nedbank Cup)
Match 2 Soccer 6 Pool 26 January S6 V2 P1
League Rankings: Free State Stars 12th (Premier Soccer League) & Richards Bay FC 6th (National First Division)
Useful facts: At face value, one could say the defending champions have an easier draw against a National First Division side, but they don’t come trickier than this one. Richards Bay FC, being somewhat of new kids on the block in local football, will want to make a mark in this season’s Nedbank Cup and claiming the scalp of Free State Stars will aid that cause. What counts in Ea Lla Koto’s favour is the home ground advantage, with even PSL sides finding it challenging to play in the bumpy surface of Goble Park. The Stars management will expect nothing less than a win from Nikola Kavazović, while the dream is on for the Rich Natal Boyz.
Shaun Haschick: Free State Stars win
Tjakastad JS v Golden Arrows (Nedbank Cup)
Match 5 Soccer 6 Pool 26 January S6 V2 P1
League Rankings: Tjakastad JS 2nd (ABC Motsepe League – Mpumalanga) & Golden Arrows 10th (Premier Soccer League)
Useful facts: Steve Komphela’s charges face a closed book in every sense of the term on Saturday evening, and away from home. It is in games of this nature that coaches tend to tell their players to “go out there and enjoy yourselves” as there isn’t really much they know about the opposition. If the Durban side doesn’t let complacency creep in, they should comfortably win this one and book themselves a place in the Last 16. Likewise, the ABC Motsepe League side from Mpumalanga will be going out there to enjoy the occasion and a win will be a hugely welcome bonus.
Shaun Haschick: Golden Arrows win
AC Milan v Napoli (Serie A)
Match 6 Soccer 6 Pool 26 January S6 V2 P1
League Rankings: AC Milan 4th & Napoli 2nd
Useful facts: Napoli have had an impressive season so far and, while they may be only two places above their opponents on the league table, they lead them with a whopping 13 points. Although playing at home, it’s going to be a mountain to climb for AC Milan, who registered a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Genoa on Monday evening. Both sides boast two of the lowest numbers when it comes to conceding, so it will be interesting to see who will be able to breach the other’s net. The last time the two teams met, in August 2018, Napoli won 3-2.
Shaun Haschick: AC Milan win