Swallows, Wits set for thriller
Johannesburg - Moroka Swallows and Wits both back themselves for Nedbank Cup glory as they prepare for their appetising Last 32 round clash in Dobsonville on Friday night.
Swallows lifted the South African equivalent of the FA Cup in 2009, when they were still under the mentorship of Julio Leal.
After fighting off relegation last season, coach Gordon Igesund has moulded a side reminiscent of the Swallows of old, and is challenging for honours again in this campaign.
"It's a great opportunity for us - four more games and you have the silverware," Igesund said on Wednesday.
"We're also in a good frame of mind. Last season we weren't able to focus on cup competitions as we were battling for survival.
"We come off a positive result (drawing 2-2 with league leaders Malelodi Sundowns) and want to take things further."
Igesund expected home ground to be an advantage but remained wary of potential suspensions in his squad.
Nine players were sitting on two yellow cards and should they be booked, they would miss the club's next Premiership fixture.
"We might be better since we're playing at home and in front of our supporters, but people always ask me if I think we can challenge for the league and I always say that I don't have depth," Igesund said.
"Nine of the 11 players for the Wits game will be out for next game if they get a yellow card.
"But at the same time what can I do? I have to play them, this cup is as important as the championship."
Roger de Sa's young Wits outfit won the 2010 competition, their first professional title in 15 years.
The Clever Boys were also in the Telkom Knockout final earlier in the season, losing to Orlando Pirates in December.
"These young guys never stop surprising me with their performances," De Sa said.
"Things have been okay in the last three years with the success. It's paying off for all the effort we've put in.
"Hopefully as the years go by, we will reach more finals and progress higher."
De Sa played the majority of his professional football at Dobsonville Stadium with Swallows.
In his coaching career, the venue had also been kind to him and he expected his charges to pull off a win and progress to the next stage.
"I'm used to the stadium, and also the results for me there have been positive ones," he said.
"Our results seem to be better there than when we play at home (Bidvest Stadium).
"We have enough depth to go out there and face Swallows."