In a bid to add a second cup to their cabinet, Stellenbosch FC will put their 23-match unbeaten run on the line when they take on Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup semi-final on Sunday 5 May at the Danie Craven Stadium. This will be the biggest test for the Carling Knockout Cup champions who look to be unbeatable lately. The Brazilians were recently knocked out of the CAF Champions League and recently won their seventh consecutive league title. They will need to shift their focus to the Nedbank Cup in their efforts to win a second trophy of the season.

To win (90 min)
Stellenbosch 33/10
Draw 22/10
Sundowns 8/10

Stellenbosch FC
The Maroons are currently enjoying one of their best runs in top-flight football and have been one of the best-performing and most consistent teams in the League for the 2023/2024 season. They are fresh off a resounding 5-0 win against Polokwane City and will be aiming to use that as motivation to overcome the Pretoria side that is yet to taste a league defeat. Iqraam Rayners who netted five goals will be the man that will be entrusted with scoring goals for Stellies.

The Wine Landers have scored eleven goals and conceded two goals on their way to the semi-finals. They edged Pretoria Callies 5-4 on penalties in the opening round which was then followed by a 6-1 masterclass where they knocked out giant killers Milford FC. Their impressive run continued when they hammered SuperSport United 4-0 in the quarterfinals in a game that was expected to go either way.

Mamelodi Sundowns
The Brazilians experienced no problems in their 3-0 win against TS Galaxy which was followed by a 5-1 thrashing of Kaizer Chiefs which got them crowned as the 7th league consecutive title. Peter Shalulile who looked to be back to his scoring ways after a long drought, scored a brace in the first half and we look to see if he can continue with this recently picked-up form and help his side to reach the final.

Masandawana proved to be too much for NB La Masia in the opening round of the competition when they rolled them over 6-1 to qualify for the round of 16 where they faced Motsepe Foundation Champion side Maritzburg United who suffered a 2-0 defeat and exited the tournament. The Brazilians then faced their cross-town rivals University of Pretoria in a highly contested match that could not be decided in the 90 minutes of play as it ended 1-1 and had to go to penalties where Sundowns emerged victorious 4-3.

Despite having a busy schedule which has seen them travelling across the continent and playing a match every two or three days, Rulani Mokwena’s side has managed to pull out some incredible performances and is seen to be prioritizing all their matches for all competitions rather than dedicating their focus to one competition. They missed out on lifting the MTN8 trophy when they lost to Orlando Pirates in the final, with the league title at their fingertips, they are expected to go all out to bag the Nedbank Cup and finish the season with three additional trophies in their cabinet.

Mokwena’s side currently has several players who are side-lined with injuries and are major doubts for this match. The list includes Rushine De Reuck, Teboho Mokwena, Abdelmounaum Boutouil, Siyanda Nyanga, Thapelo Maseko, Divine Lunga and Bongani Zungu.

Prediction: This is expected to be a cracker of a game with both respective teams standing equal chance of it. However, I think Sundowns’ big match experience as well as being used to high-pressure situation may give them a little bit of an edge over Stellies whose squad is made up of young and fast-paced players who Steve Barker will be counting on to overcome the reigning league champions. Mokwena on the other hand will be relying on the experience of Themba Zwane, Peter Shalulile, Marcelo Allende and Khuliso Mudau.

Written by Siphesihle Soni.