Our football writer previews the 2018 MTN8 final which takes place on Saturday 29 September.
It’s a repeat of last year’s MTN8 final as SuperSport United and Cape Town City go head to head in this year’s decider. When these sides met last year, it was Matsatsantsa who lifted the trophy after defeating Benni McCarthy’s men on penalties and the Capetonians will have revenge in mind. McCarthy has clearly stated that he will try and avoid the pain of enduring another penalty shootout which is an indication that they will play attacking football.
Saturday 29 September
Moses Mabhida Stadium
To Win (90 mins)
Cape Town City 16/10
Dubbed the “South African Cup Kings” due to the team winning a trophy almost every season in recent years, SuperSport will be looking to become the first team to win the MTN8 two seasons in a row since Orlando Pirates did in 2010 and 2011. Kaitano Tembo’s men knocked Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs out of the competition to reach this stage which shows their big match temperament and cup pedigree.
They have been good in the league as well where they’ve played six matches so far, winning four and losing two. They lie fourth on the standings with two games in hand. They ran riot in the league this past weekend as they thumped Black Leopards 4-0 in a much-needed morale-boosting victory.
In terms of the attack, I think SuperSport has three dangerous players in the shape of Bradley Grobler, Evans Rusike and James Keene who is now starting to gel into the team. Keene bagged a brace in last week’s victory with Rusike having scored four goals in all competitions so far this season and Grobler having three goals in the MTN8 which makes him a contender for the Player of the Tournament award.
It must also be remembered that SuperSport have arguably the best goalkeeper in the league when it comes to saving penalties in Ronwen Williams and they would be the happier of the two sides with the match going beyond extra time.
Cape Town City
Cape Town City displayed a great deal of fighting spirit last week, coming back from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 draw against Orlando Pirates. Ayanda Patosi engineered the comeback and won the Man of the Match award and he will be central to the team’s plans for the upcoming final. Coach Benni wasn’t available for this particular clash as he had to attend to a family crisis and the boys would be glad to have him back at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
They head into this game without Taariq Fielies who stepped up at the start of the season to replace Robyn Johannes. The youngster was harshly sent off against Kaizer Chiefs two weeks ago and the team has to make do with Kwanda Mngonyama who looks suspect to me. It remains to be seen whether Tokelo Rantie will be fit to participate in this game as he’s working hard in training shed weight.
Speaking of new signings, 24-year-old Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh has been a revelation and he has contributed immensely towards the team’s superb showing in the tournament. The only thing that can kill City this weekend is consistency because you don’t know which side will pitch up on the day.
The Citizens have played SuperSport United eight times in history, winning twice, losing twice including the penalty shootout defeat and drawing four times. Only one of those ended in a goalless draw which shows that you can expect the teams to have a go at each other.
Prediction: SuperSport United Win (17/10)
SuperSport United have four trophies in the last four years, dating back from the 2014 Telkom Knockout triumph and they have experienced players who know how to deal with big occasions. I’m expecting City to take initiative and attack with Matsatsantsa utilising counter attacks as their methods of attack. Aubrey Modiba’s set-piece and crossing ability gives them another dimension when they have to chase the game or go for a winner with big guys like Bongani Khumalo, Grobler and Keene often profiting from his inch-perfect deliveries. The unavailability of Fielies is also a big factor in the game. Put your money on a narrow victory for SuperSport.