The KwaZulu-Natal club ran out 4-2 penalty shootout winners over the Chilli Boys in gusty conditions in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, as they became the country’s sole third-tier representatives left in the Nedbank Cup Last 16.
And with the draw for the next stage of the competition set for Thursday, Natal United owner Senzo Sokhela is relishing the opportunity of facing some of the country’s biggest clubs.
“My biggest hope is to get a home game against any of the Big Three: Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Mamelodi Sundowns, in that order,” Sokhela tells KickOff.com.
“For us this competition is more about gaining experience by rubbing shoulders in a competitive match with players that we usually watch on television. It will be a dream come true for our boys to come up against their idols if we are to play any of the Big Three.
“The motivation and exposure that the boys will get will be huge in playing against the big teams and though we are that we are not anywhere close to matching them quality-wise, we will still compete,” he added.
Sokhela admits that it was a surprise that his side managed to knock out their PSL opponents Chippa.
“We went into that game just to enjoy ourselves because if truth be told, our main focus is on winning promotion to the first division,” he says. “So it was a surprise for us to beat them.”
Natal are coached by Smart Ndlovu and have former Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs striker Phumlani Mkhize as their assistant coach.
The KZN-based side were only formed in 2008 and are only in their third year in the country’s third tier league with all their players drawn from the Msinga Municipality.