DURBAN – The battle for supremacy in the MTN8 will see local coaches going all out to defend their clubs’ pride. The local coaches have been dominant in the eight team knockout competition for the past four years while their foreign counterparts will want to end their barren run in the tournament.
The first action will see the defending champions, Cape Town City, tackle Polokwane City in the battle of the local versus foreign coaches on Saturday.
Benni McCarthy of the Citizens will go head-to-head with Serbian Zlatko Krmpotic of Rise and Shine at 3pm at Newlands Stadium. The former Bafana Bafana marksman reigned supreme last season and will be out to defend his crown.
Polokwane are oozing with confidence. They are unbeaten in the new season, and if the first two opening games are anything to go by, the Limpopo-based side are enjoying a new lease of life under the tutelage of Krmpotic.
City are also unbeaten after two matches, with one win and a draw to start their league campaign.
The action will then move to Orlando Stadium where Orlando Pirates are pitted against Highlands Park at 6pm. Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic is searching for his maiden trophy in South Africa. He will be up against Owen da Gama’s Lions of the North.
Stuart Baxter was the last foreign coach to lift the MTN8 back in 2014 when his SuperSport United outfit defeated Kaizer Chiefs at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Since then the likes Roger de Sa, Gavin Hunt and Eric Tinkler have tasted success in this cup.
Micho will be looking to end that run in this year’s edition of Wafa Wafa, but the Lions of the North are no push overs, Pirates will have to dig deep for a win.
Mamelodi Sundowns will wrap up Saturday’s action at Lucas Moripe Stadium at 8.15pm when they lock horns with Bloemfontein Celtic in another battle of the local versus a foreign coach. Pitso Mosimane will welcome the Lesotho international, Lehlohonolo Seema. Sundowns haven’t tasted success in the eight team knockout tournament since 2007 while Celtic last won it in 2005.
Bidvest Wits have an affair with SuperSport United on Sunday at Bidvest Stadium at 3pm. Gavin Hunt will take on the Zimbabwean Kaitano Tembo. Matsatsantsa A Pitori were runners-up last season while the Clever Boys were crowned the champions two seasons ago.
It remains to be seen whether the local dominance will continue or the foreign legion will end their long trophy drought.@Minenhlecr7