Will defending champions Wits celebrate with the Telkom Knockout trophy in 2018? Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The Telkom Knockout last-16 kicks off on Saturday when defending champions Wits face Free State Stars at Goble Park in Bethlehem.

We chose four must-watch games from this weekend…

Saturday, 3.30pm: Free State Stars v Wits

Goble Park in Bethlehem is not the most hospitable grounds in the country, and so it has proved for Wits in the Telkom Knockout. They lost to Stars there in 2015 and 2016, but emerged victorious last year at Milpark.

Now they’re facing each other for a fourth time in a row in this tournament. Coach Luc Eymael spoke about Stars gaining revenge for last year’s loss, but will it be third time lucky for Gavin Hunt’s Wits at Goble Park?

Saturday, 6pm: Mamelodi Sundowns v Bloemfontein Celtic

‘Chommies’ Pitso Mosimane and Steve Komphela go head to head again, after their first encounter this season ended in a goalless draw on October 3 at the Free State Stadium.

In fact, the previous match between these two teams also ended without a goal being scored. Just who will break the deadlock, have bragging rights and a place in the quarter-finals?

Saturday, 8.15pm: Orlando Pirates v Chippa United

While Pirates are heavy favourites, and beat Chippa 1-0 away in August, the Chilli Boys beat Kaizer Chiefs in last year’s Telkom Knockout last-16.

And with the Soweto Derby next week, could Chippa pounce and cause an upset by knocking over the Buccaneers?

Sunday, 3.30pm: Kaizer Chiefs v Black Leopards

Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas bemoaned the number of injuries in his squad, with the latest star to go down being Lebogang Manyama following a car accident.

Solinas is still waiting on Khama Billiat (back), and will wonder whether his Bafana players such as Itumeleng Khune and Ramahlwe Mphahlele will be sharp enough after the international window.

They lost their last match to Polokwane City, and now another Limpopo side lie in wait. Black Leopards won their previous encounter with the Amakhosi 2-1 in the 2015 Nedbank Cup.

Again, with the Soweto Derby next Saturday, will the Chiefs players go all out or try not to get injured?

 

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