Maluti FET College's thumping of Orlando Pirates still greatest Nedbank Cup shock

23 January 2019 - 11:32 By Nick Said
Free State Stars players celebrate winning the 2018 Nedbank Cup final against Maritzburg United at Cape Town Stadium.
Free State Stars players celebrate winning the 2018 Nedbank Cup final against Maritzburg United at Cape Town Stadium.
Image: BackpagePix

Giant-killing acts in the Nedbank Cup have become more frequent in recent years as the gap in quality between the elite league and amateur ranks continues to narrow.

Two decades ago it would have been almost unthinkable that a third-tier side could topple a team from the Premier Soccer league‚ but over the last few years we have seen more and more instances of just that.

The most famous is undoubtedly Baroka FC’s run to the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup in 2011 when‚ as an unknown ABC Motsepe League side‚ they beat both Moroka Swallows and Kaizer Chiefs in what was a thrilling cup run.

It would prove the catalyst for a rise up the South African football pyramid and launch the careers of the likes of Lantshene Phalane‚ winger Katlego Mashego and Thobani Mncwango.

But it was by no means an isolated result as since 2010 there have been a total of six instances where third-tier sides have beaten Premier League opposition in the Nedbank Cup Last 32 alone.

The year with the most upsets was 2013‚ which included perhaps the greatest of them all as Free State ABC Motsepe League side Maluti FET College thumped Orlando Pirates 4-1.

Even including Baroka’s triumph over Chiefs‚ it is hard to find a bigger upset in the history of South African football‚ with Maluti missing a penalty that could have made the scoreline worse for The Buccaneers.

That same season AmaZulu were beaten 2-1 by third-tier Tembu Royals in another shock result.

There were also two upsets in 2017‚ as high-flying Cape Town City lost 1-0 at Mpumalanga ABC Motsepe League club Acornbush United‚ and Ajax Cape Town were edged on penalties by third-tier KwaDukuza United after a 2-2 draw.

Chippa United have also fallen to third-tier opposition at the Last 32 stage‚ beaten on penalties by KwaZulu-Natal ABC Motsepe League side Natal United after a 0-0 draw in 2015.

Finally‚ North West ABC Motsepe League club ALS Puk Tuwana‚ led by the late Ted Dumitru and with the likes of future Mamelodi Sundowns and BidVest Wits stars Jabulani Shongwe and Buhle Mkhwanazi in their side‚ caused a major upset when they ousted provincial rivals Platinum Stars 3-2 in the Last 32 in 2010.

Limpopo ABC Motsepe League side Boyne Tigers will hope to be the first giant-killers of 2019 when they travel to BidVest Wits on Wednesday night.

Other potential upsets could come when Mpumalanga third-tier side Tjakastad Junior Shepard host Lamontville Golden Arrows on Saturday night‚ and then there is an all Free State derby when Super Eagles entertain Bloemfontein Celtic at Goble Park on Sunday.

That same afternoon Eastern Cape ABC Motsepe League team Tornado FC welcome Chiefs to the Sisa Dukashe Stadium.