Cape Town - The first round of fixtures in the 2016 Nedbank Cup certainly lived up to the competition’s reputation of thrilling matches and iconic battles when Premier Division giants went head to head with the National First Division (NFD) and clubs from SAFA ranks.
With 46 goals already scored, each of the 16 matches proved that hard work, talent and support from a team of experts are all vital for any success.
Holders Mamelodi Sundowns needed an extra-time goal from Keagan Dolly to advance past plucky National First Division (NFD) side Highlands Park, while Platinum Stars were taken to penalties by third-tier Steenberg United before eventually sealing their place in the second round.
"The Nedbank Cup continues to personify what we do as a bank everyday - enabling people to make things that really matter happen," said Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank.
"From the players who got their first chance at playing against the best in the country, to the teams looking for experience or even aiming for entry into African competition; the Nedbank Cup has something for everyone."
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Last 32 came as NFD pacesetters Baroka FC clinched a thrilling 3-2 victory over high-flying Chippa United in the latter’s East London stronghold to revive memories of their magnificent run to the semi-finals in 2011.
The biggest victory of the opening round came as Mpumalanga Black Aces thumped fourth-tier United Rovers FC from De Aar 7-0, with Bongi Jayiya grabbing a hat-trick.
Nedbank Ke Yona Team graduate Maphosa Modiba starred for Black Aces in the game, laying on a wonderful assist for their opening goal and proving once again this season that he is very much a player of immense promise.
The only third-tier side to make it to the Last 16 is Magesi FC, who defeated EC Bees 2-1 in East London.
The remaining 16 teams have edged a step closer to folklore status and fulfilling every footballer’s dream of lifting the most prestigious piece of knockout silverware in the country, which also guarantees an entry into continental football.
Nedbank Cup Last-16 fixtures:
Mpumalanga Black Aces v Maritzburg United
Platinum Stars v Polokwane City
Santos v Free State Stars
Golden Arrows v Baroka FC
SuperSport United v AmaTuks
Jomo Cosmos v Orlando Pirates
Magesi FC v Bidvest Wits
Mamelodi Sundowns v Mbombela United