Can Moroka Swallows make up for the disappointment of losing the SAA Supa Eight final to Jomo Cosmos, or can Manning Rangers achieve the remarkable feat of narrowly avoiding relegation and then go on to Cup glory?
This weekend's focus is mainly on the Bafana Bafana clash in Bloemfontein, while the PSL season is also drawing to a close.
But soccer fans have something to look forward to next weekend as well - can Moroka Swallows make up for the disappointment of losing the SAA Supa Eight final to Jomo Cosmos, or can Manning Rangers achieve the remarkable feat of narrowly avoiding relegation and then go on to Cup glory?
These questions will only be revealed after next week's Absa Cup final and as part of the build-up to the big event, we bring you the road to the final for both clubs.
Absa Cup Final
Moroka Swallows v Manning Rangers
Sunday, 13 June 2004
Vodacom Park - Bloemfontein
Kick off 15h15
Road to the Absa Cup final
How Moroka Swallows and Manning Rangers qualified for Finals
Sunday, 29 February
Hellenic 0-2 Moroka Swallows
Moroka Swallows beat Hellenic 2-0 in an Absa Cup match played at Pam Brink Stadium.
Both Swallows goals were scored in the first half by Gary McNab and Mark McVeigh.
Friday, 27 February
Manning Rangers 3 - 2 F.C. Fortune
Manning Rangers beat FC Fortune 3-2 in an Absa Cup match at Athlone on Friday night thanks to a Keryn Jordan hattrick.
Underdogs FC Fortune were the better side in the first half and opened the scoring in the 4th minute when Rangers keeper Chad Harpur made a save but spilled the ball to Brent Adonis who scored with a shot.
Fortune increased their lead in the 29th minute with a spectacular volley from Zaka Karkee.
The game changed when Rangers made a substitution and brought on Welcome Mazibuko in the 50th minute, from then on he controlled the midfield which helped to get Rangers back in the game.
New signing from Moroka Swallows Keryn Jordan pulled a goal back in the 75th minute with a close range left footed shot. Jordan got his second goal of the 81st minute with header from a free kick.
Keryn Jordan scored his hat trick with a penalty in the last seconds of extra time after Billy Ratsoana was fouled in the box. FC Fortune should have done better after being two goals up but inexperience coast them in the end.
Saturday, 3 April
Moroka Swallows v Tornado FC
Moroka Swallows beat Tornado FC 4-0 in an Absa Cup match played at the Rand Stadium on Saturday. Gary McNab, who was used as a striker, scored in the 41st minute from a Mark McVeigh's cross.
In the 48th minute, Zambian international Dennis Lota scored with a well taken shot which gave Tornado goalkeeper Sabatha Mbongozi no chance. Shaun Permall scored the third goal for Swallows after having been set-up by Edzai Kasinauyo. Kasinauyo scored the fourth goal in the 82nd minute.
Saturday, 3 April
Manning Rangers 5-2 Durban Stars
Manning Rangers beat Durban Stars 5-2 in an Absa Cup match at Chatsworth on Saturday evening. Alton Meiring came on in the 32nd minute substituting Dale Studzinski and scored four goals. The Durban Stars goals were scored by Pogisho Mokotjo in the 3rd minute and Lungelo Makhanya in the 66th minute.
The Rangers goals were scored by Keryn Jordan in the 25th minute and Alton Meiring in the 42nd, 44th, 51st and 54th minutes.
Sunday, 18 April
Moroka Swallows v Orlando Pirates
Moroka Swallows caused a major sensation when they knocked Orlando Pirates out of the Absa Cup in a pulsating clash that was played at Johannesburg Stadium on Sunday.
The Dube Birds won 2-0 through goals from Dennis Lota and substitute Alois Ngwerume, while Pirates missed several chances on the day.
Swallows were also on the receiving end of some harsh decisions from referee Petros Mathabela, but held out to win the match, despite finishing with 10 players.
Swallows opened the score via Zambian international Dennis Lota, who gave his side the lead in the 29th minute.
But the Dube Birds has Raymond Seneo sent off for a second bookable offence on the hour. This prompted Pirates into action and the Sea Robbers poured forward at every opportunity.
In the 76th minute Gift Leremi, looking suspiciously offside, stabbed the ball past Greg Etafia's far post, as Pirates kept up the pressure in an attempt to find the equalizer.
But as they tried to get the equalizer, Pirates started to push players forward, and it was inevitable they would be caught out. That happened in stoppage time, when Pirates defender Papi Khomane was caught out with two Swallows forwards bearing down on him.
Pitso Lekone beat Khomane in the box to lay the ball off for substitute Alois Ngwerume, who fired home from close range to take Swallows into the final, and the Birds fans into ecstasy.
Thursday, 15 April
Manning Rangers v Silver Stars
Durban club Manning Rangers put their problems behind them for a while as they beat Silver Stars 2-0 to advance to the semifinals of the Absa Cup competition at Chatsworth Stadium on Thursday night.
Goals in the space of seven minutes from Welcome Mazubuko and Keryn Jordan lay the foundation as the Mighty Maulers overcame a 10 man Stars that started the match very well.
The visitors were however reduced to 10 men when Manqoba Mkhize was sent off for a second bookable offence in the first half. Stars were in control early on, but missed several opportunities against a rather nervous looking Rangers.
Dingane Masanabo was the main culprit as he missed three easy chances that would have wrapped up the match for his side in the first half. But Rangers came out strongly in the second half took the lead in the 53rd minute after some sustained pressure and a good build-up.
Alton Meiring played the ball into the path of substitute Welcome Mazibuko, who from the edge of the area, curled the ball around the Stars goalkeeper. Then a few minutes later Rangers were awarded a penalty when the industrious Keryn Jordan was brought down by Oscar Ntwagae.
Jordan stepped up, and after seeing his initial effort saved, banged the ball home to give his side a 2-0 lead.
Saturday, 8 May
Moroka Swallows v Santos
Moroka Swallows beat Santos 5-3 on penalties at the Rand Stadium after the sides were drawn 1-1 after extra-time to each the Absa Cup Final on Saturday.
Stuart Baxter and some of the local Bafana squad members were at the match in the crowd, another in the crowd was Sundowns coach Paul Dolezar.
The Santos goal was scored by Tyren Arendse in the 31st minute. The Swallows goal was scored by Alois Ngwerume in the 66th minute. In the first 20 minutes there were no clear-cut chances with both sides struggling to put more than four passes together at a time.
In the 31st minute very much against the run of play Santos opened the scoring when a pass found Tyren Arendse near the half was line, he ran with the ball beating a few defenders to score with a right footed shot from the big box, giving keeper Greg Etafia no chance.
The Swallows striker Lungisani Ndlela was substituted in the 40th minute by Shaun Permall after he was injured in a clash of heads with Musa Otieno Musa. During the first 45 minutes Swallows never troubled the Santos goal area and never looked like scoring.
Gavin Hunt's side took the game to Santos right from the start of the second half and looked more dangerous. The Birds equalised in the 66th minute with an Alois Ngwerume header from a quality cross from Albert Kometsi from the right.
In the 77th minute Santos should have got a second goal but Mxolisi Mchunu missed with a header putting the ball past the post. The last ten minutes were exciting and in the 83rd minute Mchunu came close to scoring but keeper Etafia denied him with a quality save. The game ended 1-1 at full time.
In extra-time in the 95th minute Shaun Permall should have scored from close range but he put his left-footed shot wide. In the 98th minute Wardle made a good save from a Permall header.
In the 107th minute Swallows' Alois Ngwerume missed from close range but should have scored.
The game went to a penalty shoot out which Swallows won 5-3, Marawaan Bantam missed the Santos penalty.
Sunday 9 May
Manning Rangers v Ajax
Manning Rangers beat Ajax Cape Town 6-5 on Penalties to reach the Absa Cup Final after both sides were tied at 1-1 after extra-time at Chatsworth on Sunday.
The Rangers goal was scored by Alton Meiring in the 37th minute. The Ajax goal was scored by Nathan Paulse in the 66th minute. The opening ten minutes of the game was dominated by Ajax and they should have really taken the lead in the 5th minute when Grant Igesund had only keeper John Tlale to beat but the veteran made a fine stop from Igesund's shot.
In the 8th minute Ajax came close again when Tshinyama Tsholola put his header past the post from a corner. Wilfred Mugeyi came close to scoring in the 16th minute but he put his header over the bar from a corner.
Rangers scored in the 37th minute when a long cross found Alton Meiring who took on two defenders to score with a right footed shot. In the 40th minute Meiring should have scored but missed from 5 metres out putting his shot over the bar.
Ajax got the equaliser in the 66th minute when a cross was headed against the post by Nathan Paulse, he followed up to score with a left footed shot from close range. In the 75th minute Ajax came close to getting a second goal when an Alfred Phiri right footed shot was well saved by Tlale.
Ajax looked the better side in extra-time and in the 96th minute were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when a Mugeyi shot hit a Rangers players arm but it was missed by the referee. In the 107th minute Brent Carelse came close when his shot was well saved by Tlale.
The scores were tied at 1-1 after extra-time. Rangers won 6-5 on penalties, Alfred Phiri and Ernest Mtawali missed their kicks for Ajax.
MOROKA SWALLOWS V MANNING RANGERS
HEAD TO HEAD SINCE FORMATION OF PSL
1996/97 - PSL
17/8/96 Swallows 1 Rangers 2
(Mpondo 36; Koumantarakis 44 Hepburn 86)
14/2/97 Rangers 2 Swallows 1
(Koumantarakis 13 Muir 89; Dindi 37)
1/9/96 Swallows 2 Rangers 0
(Mlwane 50 Shaha 78)
1997/98 - PSL
24/10/97 Rangers 1 Swallows 2
(Chikoya 24; Ntsoelengoe 47, 56)
14/12/97 Swallows 0 Rangers 1
30/8/97 Swallows 3 Rangers 3
(Dindi 43 Motale 63 Sebona 90; Larsen 3 Jordan 13, 75)
13/9/97 Rangers 2 Swallows 1
(Makhubela 13 Ndimande 65; Manzombi 15)
1998/99 - PSL
22/11/98 Swallows 0 Rangers 0
16/4/99 Rangers 1 Swallows 3
(Jordan 5; McVeigh 24 Cibi 76 Nombe 85)
1999/00 - PSL
24/10/99 Swallows 1 Rangers 2
(Mazibuko 89; Jordan 59 Ramokadi 82)
10/3/00 Rangers 1 Swallows 1
(Moloi 58; Kitenge 90pen)
2000/02 - PSL
26/8/00 Rangers 2 Swallows 1
(Ndwandwe 2 Mushangazhike 10; Ningiza 6)
21/1/01 Swallows 3 Rangers 1
(Niemach 31 Ndzuzo 34og Cibi 85; Jordan 5)
2001/02 - PSL
19/8/01 Swallows 2 Rangers 0
(Isaks 21 Petersen 28)
9/1/02 Rangers 1 Swallows 0
2002/03 - PSL
9/10/02 Rangers 3 Swallows 3
(Meiring 18, 36 Mushangazhike 32; Lewis 50 Manuels 69 Ngobeni 85)
22/2/03 Swallows 1 Rangers 0
(S Ndlovu 26)