Ammar Academy coach Edward Malunga Fiyaka has reacted to the club’s recent Nedbank Cup Last 32 qualification, saying the PSL tournament will open doors for his players.
Ammar, who recently bought Paarl United’s status in the Hollywoodbets Regional League, made history by becoming the first SAFA Cape Winelands team to qualify for the Nedbank Cup round 32.
The academy, founded in 2020, beat ABC Motsepe League side Maties 1-0 courtesy of a Luko ‘Whitey’ Vakala strike in the final to secure their place in the prestigious competition. The match was played in Paarl at the Mbekweni Stadium.
Ammar will now represent SAFA Western Cape in the Nedbank Cup and are eager to make their mark on the national stage.
“We’re very excited to have qualified for the Nedbank Cup,” Fiyaka told FARPost. “This is a great opportunity for our players to showcase their talent and compete against some of the best teams in the country.”
It was a second attempt for the academy after falling off in the first round last year. Fiyaka believes the lessons learned in the previous campaign were important in this season’s edition.
“It took a lot of hard work. We worked so hard, and our preparation was very good. Last time, we lost in the first round,” he said.
WHAT PLAYING IN THE NEDBANK CUP MEANS FOR AMMAR ACADEMY
Going into the final against ABC Motsepe side Maties, a feeder team to Stellenbosch FC, Fiyaka insists they did not give them too much respect.
“We were so anxious, but I said [to the players] the mere fact that we were in the final – we had no reason to give them too much respect. Yes, they’re in a higher league than us. But we felt we were equal on the field of play. We decided not to give them too much respect. We fought.”
He believes participating in the Nedbank Cup will open doors for his players. The club has talents like 18-year-old forward Charles Ezeobi and defender Mustapha Stevens. Centre-back Odwa Nyulu and the club’s top goal scorer, Rashidi Yekini Mudima, were also outstanding in the final.
In preparation for Nedbank, Fiyaka revealed they wanted to play PSL and MDC sides.
“We’re praying for a fair draw. It would be good exposure for us to play PSL teams so our brand can also be there. We want a fair and better draw.
“Our target is to ensure we go through to the next stage. But the broader vision is to win the league and go to the ABC Motsepe League playoffs.”
Ammar Soccer Academy is a grassroots football academy founded three years ago. The academy provides training and development opportunities for young players across Cape Town. The academy’s recent achievement is a testament to its management, players and coaches’ hard work and dedication.
ABOUT THE NEDBANK CUP
The Nedbank Cup is a South African annual knockout football competition. It is the second most important cup competition in South Africa, after the MTN 8.
The cup is open to all professional and amateur clubs affiliated with PSL and SAFA. The winner of the cup qualifies for the CAF Confederation Cup.