DURBAN - Whatever SuperSport United and Cape Town City lack in glitz, glamour and pedigree they will make up for it with their common desire for success, the ambitions of their coaches and modern attacking football when they meet in the MTN8 final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday night.
In the absence of traditional crowd-pullers Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, this clash on neutral territory will appeal more to the young, modern supporter who values hard graft and attacking and defensive disciplines more than the flashy stuff.
There will be fancy moves, too, with Thuso Phala of Supersport and Teko Modise of City capable of dishing it out, but passion and determination are the key ingredients, as emphasised by the clubs’ assistant coaches.
SuperSport are all about trophies, and this outing is a mere pit stop en route to the upcoming CAF Confederation Cup semi-final second leg away to Tunisia’s Club Africain next weekend, as they attempt to transfer their domestic success on to the continent.
City, on the other hand, are young and ambitious, and eager to ride on the early success of their debut season’s Telkom Knockout achievement.
If the weather Gods play ball, after a day of lashing rains and gusty winds that wreaked havoc across KwaZulu-Natal earlier in the week, then there should be plenty lightning and thunder under the stadium arch come 7pm.
“As Cape Town City we are grateful and privileged to be in another final. We’re in the second year of existence and in our second final in 12 months, so there’s big excitement,” said Ian Taylor in Durban yesterday.
In the build-up McCarthy has said it boils down to whichever team wants it more. And more is what the Pretoria outfit want. Individually, as a coach Tinkler craves success, and he couldn’t have found a better match in Supersport, according to his deputy Kaitano Tembo.
The Zimbabwean was a player for SuperSport when they won their only top-eight trophy, in 2004, when it was known as the SAA Supa8.
This will be a fourth finals appearance, and going by their current trophy form - they lifted the Nedbank Cup in June - SuperSport will be favourites.
“We want to play in all the competitions - we’re going to Tunisia next, which is a big stage - and we last won this cup in 2004 so we want to correct that,” said Tembo.
“We have assembled a squad of good professionals.”
SuperSport might shade City in terms of experience, but in captain Robyn Johannes, fellow defender Thamsanqa Mkhize and Modise they have plenty of wise heads to guide the rising stars like Ayanda Patosi, Lyle Lakay and Thabo Nodada.
And with McCarthy’s winning mentality to orchestrate things from the touchline, City will punch above their weight to make it an interesting contest.