Which stars will shine?

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Bruised Free State Stars plan to bounce back to their winning ways by showing the in-form Platinum Stars an early exit from the Nedbank Cup.

The two sides battle it out in the last-32 stage at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Sunday (3pm) in a game that is bound to produce fireworks.

It comes with Ea Lla Koto still trying to recover from the humiliating 4-1 defeat by Kaizer Chiefs in an Absa Premiership match in QwaQwa last Sunday.

On the other hand, The Tycoons are chasing a second consecutive win over a Free State outfit in less than a week after defeating Bloemfontein Celtic 2-0 in a midweek league clash.

Rantsi Mokoena, Stars' brand manager, described the loss to Amakhosi as a wake-up call to their playing personnel.

"There is not doubt that the embarrassing defeat was on the cards, if our performance in the past few games was anything to go by," he said.

"We have been doing very well in the early stages of the game, including scoring one or two well-deserved goals, only to go to sleep afterwards.

"We led 2-0 against Golden Arrows to end up drawing 2-2. The same thing happened when we drew 2-2 against Thanda Royal Zulu after leading 2-0.

"It is a clear case of a lapse of concentration, which is unacceptable. We are going all out to redeem our tarnished image by beating The Tycoons," said Mokoena.

From Stars' camp, general manager Thamaga Mokgopi said they were eager to avenge the 3-1 defeat handed to them by Ea Lla Koto in the league.

"We are still bitter that Stars beat us in that game, where the officiating was bad, but we are going to add to their woes after their loss to Chiefs."

The spotlight in this battle of the stars will be on strikers Sthembiso Ngcobo (Ea Lla Koto) and Phumudzo Manenzhe (Tycoons). Ngcobo scored on his debut for Bafana Bafana in their 2-1 midweek win over Zimbabwe, while Manenzhe grabbed a brace in their win over Phunya Selesele.