Amakhosi to take aim at in-form Rich Boyz

Kaizer Chiefs will be aiming to avoid a Nedbank Cup upset when they host an in-form Richards Bay FC in a round of 32 clash at FNB Stadium on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 5pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The Natal Rich Boyz head to the 2010 FIFA World Cup final venue on an eight-game unbeaten run, having moved up to second spot on the GladAfrica Championship standings last weekend with a 4-1 win over Bizana Pondo Chiefs.

Chiefs are on a three-game winless streak following a 2-1 defeat to Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates that has consequently halted their march up the DStv Premiership standings.

In a season that has not gone to plan thus far, Amakhosi head coach Gavin Hunt is hoping that the Nedbank Cup can offer his team a much needed boost, as they set their sights on a first trophy since 2015.

For all their pedigree in cup competitions, no side has lost to more lower league opponents in the Nedbank Cup with their shock 1-0 loss to TS Galaxy in the 2019 final the fifth occasion that Chiefs had suffered defeat against a side not in the top division.

“It’s very important [to win it], if you look around the world clubs tend to play weakened teams in cup competitions, but we can’t be doing that, we will try our best in every game and play our best XI. There are no freebies, that is for sure,” Hunt said.

“But with the cup it is always about the draw. I have seen teams get to the final and not play anybody [good]. From the Mainstay Cup days, we got to the semifinal in 1981 playing nobody, then we played Orlando Pirates and we know what happened then.

“It will be tougher this year because there are no SAFA teams in the draw. Everybody wants those teams, but it can also backfire on you. So for us it is about, let’s just get through the Last 32 first.

“Look at the final two years ago [TS Galaxy beat Chiefs 1-0], you would have put your house on Chiefs winning that game.”

Hunt is more than wary of the threat posed by Simo Dladla's team and is expecting an intense battle against the KwaZulu-Natal outfit.

“I haven’t watched them [Richards Bay] live, but I have seen some footage of them. We have had a look at them, we will try and play accordingly with what we think [they will do],” Hunt added.

“What the NFD teams have got is that they play with much more intensity. It is helter-skelter and PSL teams are not used to that. They are small [players] and nippy, and they move all around the pitch. The pace … the way they play, it’s just with more intensity."

Richards Bay were knocked out of the last season's competition in the preliminary round following a 2-1 loss to Ajax Cape Town (now Cape Town Spurs), while Chiefs suffered a round of 16 exit at the hands of Highlands Park on penalties.

Chiefs beat Hunt's SuperSport United 1-0 for their only Nedbank Cup crown in 2013 through a late Bernard Parker strike. Hunt had guided Matsatsantsa to the title a year prior with victory over Mamelodi Sundowns.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kaizer Chiefs

Nkosingiphile Ngcobo: The diminutive midfielder is Chiefs' top goalscorer this season and has arguably been their best player in the current campaign thus far. The 21-year-old has taken his first team chance with both hands and has become an increasingly important member of the Amakhosi squad. He has started 13 of their 15 league games and linked up well with Samir Nurkovic in the final third.

Anthony Akumu: The Kenya international arrived at Naturena as a midfielder, but has excelled at centre-back in recent weeks. Akumu has played the full 90 minutes in Chiefs' eight most recent fixtures heading into the weekend, seven of those in defence. Against an energetic Richards Bay, he will have his work cut out for him.

Richards Bay FC

Khanyisa Mayo: The former South Africa youth international has found a home in Richards Bay and has been a regular starter for the Natal Rich Boyz. A promising talent, Mayo has yet reach his full potential and will be hoping to use the Nedbank Cup as a springboard back into the limelight.

Paseka Sekese: An experienced second division player that hasn't really been afforded a just chance in the top-flight, Sekese is a dangerous midfielder that Hunt will know well from their time together at Bidvest Wits where he struggled to break into the first team. Sekese will be determined to prove his worth and will be Richards Bay's main protagonist.