Bouyed Celtic Face Tricky Maritzburg

Bloemfontein Celtic has marched to the Nedbank Cup round of 16 draws, facing Maritzburg United at home after a resounding victory against Amazulu this past Saturday.

Bloemfontein Celtic head coach Lehlohonolo Seema will look to once again hope to use home advantage ahead of a tricky challenge against United.

“We are obviously happy to be through to the next round and we will prepare accordingly,” said Seema.

Maritzburg United marched to the next round after edging Stellenbosch FC 5-4 on penalties last Friday night.

It wasn’t Maritzburg’s best performance, but ultimately it was all about getting through to the next round against tough opponents.

“We are happy to get through,” head coach Eric Tinkler said, “but it could have gone either way to be brutally honest. We didn’t start very well, we took risks in our build-up and conceded the first.”

Against Celtic, Tinkler said the team would have to be more careful to avoid being punished. “We can’t afford to be reluctant or too careless. We saw what they did to Amazulu and we won’t be making the same mistake,” he noted.

The coach did, however, state that the team will be spending more time practicising penalties which are highly likely on the day, saying: “We need to be more accurate on the day should it come down to that. We therefore need to prepare carefully.”

In the same draw, big guns managed to avoid each other. The last 32 had the big rivals up against each other but things look a little different this time around.

Bidvest Wits were bundled out by Orlando Pirates via penalties in the first round while Mamelodi Sundowns sent arch-rivals SuperSport United packing.

The Brazilians, Amakhosi and the Clever Boys avoided each other for the next round as The Glamour Boys will lock horns against the MTN8 finalists, Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium.

Chiefs are the most successful club in the history of the tournament with 13 triumphs but they haven’t lifted the trophy since 2013 and are searching for their first cup in five years.

Telkom Knockout champions Sundowns will entertain the surprise package of last 32, Vaal University of Technology.

The Students stunned Lamontville Golden Arrows on penalties to advance to the last 16.

Sundowns meanwhile, are on course for a treble. They are in the quarterfinals of the Caf Champions League and are still in the title race. The Brazilians have already bagged TKO this season.

The last time they lifted the TKO was back in 2015 beating Ajax Cape Town on penalties. Under the tenure of Gavin Hunt, the Clever Boys have become a good force to be reckoned with. They have won the league, MTN8, and the TKO but the Nedbank Cup is still the missing piece in their puzzle. Is this their year? They have every right to believe after dispatching Pirates in the first round.

Wits will face Chippa United.

By: Thapelo Molebatsi