Any team can lift cup - Igesund
Johannesburg - Moroka Swallows coach Gordan Igesund believes any of the 16 teams can go all the way and win the competition even as his team face the more favoured Mamelodi Sundowns in the first round of the Telkom Knockout.
"In a cup competition, anyone can win it," Igesund said on Monday after the draw in Johannesburg.
"Cup competitions give an opportunity for every team to try and get some silverware.
"Some of the teams in the league are not going to be able to win the championship because of financial restraints or because they haven't got the squad to do that."
While the top eight teams from the final table of last year's Premiership were awarded seedings, it did not guarantee them home fixtures.
The home teams were decided at the draw, and meant the seedings for the competition only ensured the top eight would not meet each other in the first round.
"The nice thing about the draw is that we got a home draw," Igesund said.
The Swallows mentor added that he was not intimidated by playing a big team in the first round, and insisted his side, 13th in the Premiership last season, remained a powerhouse in South African soccer.
"Two footballing giants playing against each other, it's good for football. It's probably the draw of the round," he said.
Wits were one of the few top eight teams given a home draw, and they will host AmaZulu in the first round.
"It's always important to get a home draw, especially when the league gets a bit tight and when you play a lot of games, it's nice to be at home," said Wits coach Roger de Sa.
"It limits the travelling so we're happy with that.
"It was important that we're seeded, and to get a home draw was probably the first prize."
Wits, who have been strong at home in recent seasons, will need a favourable draw if they are to seriously challenge teams like Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
"In most cup competitions, for a side like us, you need a few favourable draws," De Sa said.
"When you come to the money end of tournaments, injuries and suspensions play a big part and we just hope we can stay away from that.
"With a few home draws and favourable draws I think we can go all the way to the final.
"We won the Nedbank Cup two seasons ago and it was a bit like that and we're hoping to continue this year."
In other first round encounters, defending champions Kaizer Chiefs will go in search of a third successive title as they begin their defence away from home against Platinum Stars.
Pirates will host Black Leopards, Bloemfontein Celtic will travel to Jomo Cosmos, while SuperSport United are at home against Golden Arrows.
Maritzburg host Santos and Ajax Cape Town, at home, will pose a challenge for Free State Stars.
Telkom Knockout draw:
Wits v AmaZulu
Platinum Stars v Kaizer Chiefs
Orlando Pirates v Black Leopards
Jomo Cosmos v Bloemfontein Celtic
SuperSport United v Golden Arrows
Moroka Swallows v Mamelodi Sundowns
Santos FC v Maritzburg United
Ajax Cape Town v Free State Stars
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: R100 000
Defender of the Tournament: R100 000
Midfielder of the Tournament: R100 000
Top-scorer: R150 000 (must score a minimum of five goals)
Hat-trick in the Final: R100 000
Player of the Tournament: R200 000
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