cup of shocks runneth over

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

The Nedbank Cup was full of surprises in its debut season last year when minnows punched above their weight to surprise some of the top clubs. It could happen again this season.

This was according to Premier Soccer League chief executive Kjetil Siem at the launch of Ke Yonaat Nedbank headquarters in Sandton yesterday.

National First Division side Mpumalanga Black Aces surprised all and sundry when they reached the final last year, only to lose to Mamelodi Sundowns. Downs needed an 88th-minute goal from Lerato Chabangu to claim the R6milllion first prize.

Aces got R2,5 million. The tournament is sponsored for R20million.

Said Siem: "I will be the first to admit that the tournament reached heights we did not expect. It far exceeded our expectations. Such was the passion, the intensity and the commitment of teams in the tournament, that fans started to turn out in their droves as cup football rekindled its spark.

"Ke Yona was the buzz word among every soccer fan. Living up to its hype as South Africa's version of the FA Cup, we saw some of the less fancied teams giving their more illustrious counterparts a good run for their money. It's something I'd like to see again."

Nombulelo Moholi of Nedbank said through Ke Yona they were in a position to help build the beautiful game and further fuel the national passion for soccer.

Prize breakdown:

The champions will receive R6 million,

Runners-up R2,5 million,

Third and fourth finishers, R1 million each;

Fifth to eighth R400 000 each,

Ninth to 16th R200 000 each; and

17th to 32nd R100 000 each.

l The last-32 draw will be published in later editions of Sowetan.