The Madibaz football team qualified for the next phase of the Nedbank Cup when they won the regional final in Port Elizabeth at the weekend, beating Ikamva Movers in a penalty shootout.
In the local knockout competition involving SAB League teams, the Nelson Mandela University side won 5-3 in the shootout and will now play their counterparts from other regions in the province.
This success follows their victory in the local SAB League last season and Madibaz football manager Mark Tommy said it was another feather in the team’s cap.
“Our goal is to keep on the winning trail to qualify for promotion to the ABC Motsepe League and, ultimately, the National First Division,” he said.
He said there had been strong competition in the Nedbank Cup campaign as the teams fought for a place in the last 32 of the national tournament.
“Reaching that stage comes with a huge financial incentive,” said Tommy.
“It is the equivalent of England’s FA Cup, with lower division teams getting a chance to test themselves against professional teams in the National First Division and Premier Soccer League.”
While three of their matches had to be decided via penalty shootouts, he said it typified the “never say die” spirit of the students.
Tommy said winning the local Nedbank Cup qualifier was important for the development of the squad.
“In competing against teams from the other regions, we can make assessments of our players and evaluate areas of improvement and strengths.”
He added that the recruitment strategy they had employed was paying off as matriculants had been included in the team, with the objective of becoming students next year.
“By then these youngsters will have learnt the culture and philosophy of Madibaz football,” said Tommy.