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Platinum Stars-Baroka preparing for Nedbank Cup showdown

Platinum Stars-Baroka preparing for Nedbank Cup showdown
From ESPN - February 13, 2018

The final four matches in the first round of South Africa's Nedbank Cup will be played on Wednesday, including an all-Premier Soccer League battle between Platinum Stars and Baroka FC at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Stars sit bottom of the elite division, while Baroka are facing turbulent times after the suspension of their coach Kgoloko Thobejane, and amidst reports that a number of senior players have been sent to train with the reserve side.

Baroka have a special history with South Africa's FA Cup, having twice made the semi finals as a lower league side, famously defeating both Moroka Swallows and Kaizer Chiefs while still campaigning in the ABC Motsepe League in 2011.

On that occasion they were unlucky losers to second-tier Black Leopards in the semis, going down on penalties after a 2-2, denying them the opportunity to become the first third-tier side to make a South African cup final.

They repeated the feat when in the National First Division on 2016, losing on that occasion to eventual winners SuperSport United in the final.

After a promising start to the campaign, Baroka have five defeats in their last eight games and that is likely the reason for Thobejane's suspension rather than any misdemeanour by a coach who marries healthy confidence and professionalism in the way he approaches the game.

For Stars, the match is a chance to get a boost of confidence after four defeats and a draw in their last five games.

"Cups can turn your season around. We are going to give couple of players rest but our priority is to win the game," Stars coach Roger de Sa said in a statement to the club.

"We are definitely going to give it our best shot. Baroka made a name for themselves in this competition.

"Remember they knocked Kaizer Chiefs out some years ago. It's a competition that they really enjoy. We know it's going to be a difficult one. We want to go as far as we can. Our priority is to win and when we come across.

"It gives us an opportunity to try out two or three players. It's a game that there's not much pressure compared to the league. We will try out a few combinations with couple of players.

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