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Saturday's Nedbank Cup Joint Preview: Free State Stars start title defence, Golden Arrows target Tjakastad scalp

9:39 pm AEDT 26/1/19
Free State Stars players with Nedbank Cup, May 2018
Ea Lla Koto, who are the defending champions, will be in action on Saturday

The Nedbank Cup Last 32 action continues on Saturday and Goal previews three matches as the battle for spots in the Last 16 gathers momentum.

Reigning Ke Yona Cup champions, Free State Stars are at home against National First Division (NFD) side, Richards Bay at the Goble Park Stadium in Bethlehem at 15:00.

Ea Lla Koto are seen as favourites to emerge as victors in as far as this clash is concerned, but will have to fight harder as they are struggling in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Under their new coach, Nikola Kavazovic, Stars have bagged a 2-1 win over Maritzburg United but suffered a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Cape Town City in their previous league outing.

Looking at the NFD outfit, Richards Bay reached the Last 32 stage following a 1-0 win Royal Eagles in the preliminary stage and will be hoping to continue with their winning run against the top tier side.

Fresh from a 1-1 draw in their NFD campaign against Eagles, the KwaZulu-Natal side will be hoping to stun their hosts in front of their home crowds.

A look at the other match of the afternoon, Umvoti FC are up against coach Dan Malesela’s TS Galaxy as they also hope to make it to the next round.

The KZN-based club is currently campaigning in the ABC Motsepe League and has the backing of their crowd as they welcome the side from Mpumalanga hoping to use home advantage to reach the next stage.

Shifting focus to TS Galaxy, the NFD side will also target a spot in the draw for the Last 16 stage and emulate many NFD clubs who have caused upsets in the competition.

Galaxy have drawn their recent NFD match to Milano United and will now take this match as an opportunity to revive their hopes and get back to winning ways.

The clash will be staged at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium kicking off at 15:00 on Saturday afternoon.

Looking at the final match of the day, Golden Arrows will visit another ABC Motsepe division side, Tjakastad FC in the Mpumalanga province as they will also want to join fellow PSL sides such as Bidvest Wits and Highlands Park in the next draw.

The hosts secured their spot in the opening round via the play-offs and will hope to kill a PSL giant and raise the profile.

Although Abafana Bes’thende are yet to win the competition, they are led by a seasoned coach in Steve Komphela and have an upper hand based on their experienced squad.

Arrows are in high spirits after beating Maritzburg United and playing to a 1-1 draw against Bloemfontein before securing a point against Black Leopards last week.

A win in the cup competition will motivate them as they hope to turn their dismal season into one that can produce results considering their top eight qualification hopes.

The encounter will be staged at Mbombela Stadium and will get underway at 20:15.