Our soccer writer previews the MTN8 quarterfinal action which gets underway on Friday the 11th of August 2017.
MTN8 action takes centre stage this weekend and our football writer predicts the most likely outcomes of the four quarter-finals encounters taking place.
Kaizer Chiefs looking to return to title winning ways, while Mamelodi Sundowns will be in search of a comeback after being drubbed 3-0 in last year’s final by Bidvest Wits. The Clever Boys will be raring to repeat last year’s heroics and Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City will be gearing up for a new era – we are in for a treat!
Friday 11 August
Bidvest Wits 7/10 | Draw 24/10 | Golden Arrows 4/1
The defending champions, Wits have bolstered their side by acquiring the services of Bafana Bafana and Everton veteran, Steven Pienaar as well as former 1860 Munich midfielder, Daylon Claasen. The Students are adding to a midfield that is functioning like a well-oiled machine with the likes of Xola Mlambo, last season’s PSL Midfielder of the Season nominee Thabang Monare and Daine Klate. It’s safe to say on paper the Students should win every single game in the domestic league.
Golden Arrows have improved over the last two seasons under the tutelage of Clinton Larsen this campaign, finishing a notch higher and qualifying for the league’s exclusive tournament. They haven’t signed any big-name players and the MTN8 provides a golden opportunity for Abafana Besithende to parade the young talent they’ve acquired from lower divisions. I foresee a win for Bidvest Wits.
Saturday 12 August
Cape Town City 17/20 | Draw 23/10 | Polokwane City 32/10
Everyone is looking forward to Cape Town City coach, Benni McCarthy’s first match as a head coach. He has signed Bafana Bafana midfielder Ayanda Patosi to replace Bongolwethu Jayiya, who joined Kaizer Chiefs and he has also captured Teko Modise’s signature from Sundowns. This was one of the most exciting teams last season and it boasts the PSL Player of the Season Lebogang Manyama and Midfielder of the Season, Aubrey Ngoma.
After parting ways with coach Luc Eymael, assistant coach Bernard Mlekwa was tasked with taking care of the team in the interim and he rose to the occasion, ensuring the team finishes in the top eight. Some pundits believe he stuck to Eymael’s tactics and they have worked wonders for Rise and Shine. This is a very tough one to call but I believe Cape Town City will reign supreme in the end.
Kaizer Chiefs 11/10 | Draw 21/10 | SuperSport United 5/2
Kaizer Chiefs is a team that has not won any major piece of silverware since the departure of Stuart Baxter in the middle of 2015. Steve Komphela is under immense pressure to turn things around. They have won two pre-season tournaments – the Carling Black Label Champion Cup and the Maize Cup. Gustavo Paez and Bernard Parker are forging a menacing combination upfront and other teams are going to really have a hard time containing the threat they pose.
After finishing last season with a bang, thrashing Orlando Pirates 4-1 in the Nedbank Cup final, SuperSport parted ways with head coach Stuart Baxter who is now at the helm of the national team. New man, Eric Tinkler will be extensively scrutinized after shockingly leaving Cape Town City off the back of a stunning season. Both their league games last season ended in 1-1 draws and the Nedbank Cup clash finished 2-2 after extra-time but Matsatsatsa knocked Chiefs out on penalties. From his days at Orlando Pirates to his time at Cape Town City, Tinkler has always proved that he has a winning formula to beat Komphela, so I’m tipping SuperSport to come out on top.
Sunday 13 August
Mamelodi Sundowns 5/10 | Draw 28/10 | Maritzburg Utd 11/2
Last year’s runners up Sundowns failed to beat The Team of Choice last season as both matches ended in draws with the recent 2-2 draw being the most memorable. The Brazilians have just snatched Orlando Pirates captain Oupa Manyisa away from the Buccaneers which is going to intensify competition for the midfield positions.
Maritzburg Unted have handed Fadlu Davids the head coaching position permanently and they have improved the side by signing Siyanda Xulu from Kaizer Chiefs. The Team of Choice have also acquired the services of Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Ofori from the champions of Ghana, We All Stars. Nonethless, I feel Downs will prove too strong for the KZN-based team.
Written by Benedict Ngwenya for