Aces out to make history

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Mpumalanga Black Aces are on a mission to make history by becoming the first club outside the Premiership to reach the final of South Africa's version of the FA Cup.

"The fairytale continues, we are going to shock many people on Saturday," said Jacob "Dukes" Machaka, Aces' attacking midfielder.

AmaZion, guided by the knowledgeable Kenny Ndlazi, take on Free State Stars in a Nedbank Cup semifinal at Super Stadium on Saturday, starting at 3pm.

Aces and Bloemfontein Young Stars are the only two non-Premiership clubs to reach the semifinals of cups in the National Soccer League.

Tigers, then boasting the likes of Duncan Lechesa and Abram Raselemane, were defeated by Kaizer Chiefs in a semifinal of the Bob Save Superbowl in 2003.

"Stars have been doing well, it will be a big mistake for us to think it will be an easy game," said the well-travelled Machaka.

"We raised the hopes of our supporters and the people of Mpumalanga in general. Our support base has grown tremendously since the start of this tournament. Our success in this tournament has helped to raise our brand, so you can image the spin-offs after winning the final.

"There are no special preparations, we are going to play our normal attacking type of soccer."

Stars are aware that AmaZion have some incredible players with massive Premiership experience.

They include Michel Babale, Felix "White Gloves" Musasa, Kabamba "He Man" Musasa, Lucas Tlhomelang, Johannes Diale and Charles Mogashwa.

Collins Chabalala, Stars' striker, said: "It will be a big game, this is our last opportunity to win silverware after slipping out of the league race.

"We have a lot of respect for Aces' players and technical team of Bra Kenny and Mahala Maimane, but that will count for nothing during the game."

On Sunday, Mamelodi Sundowns return to domestic action with a semifinal match against AmaZulu at Olen Park. It will also start at 3pm.

Both teams will be looking to bounce back from losses - Downs in the Champions League and Usuthu in the Absa Premiership.