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Preview: SuperSport to kick start MTN8 title defence

SuperSport United

SuperSport United will defend their title when they take on newcomers Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, while Kaizer Chiefs are up against a hungry Maritzburg United in the MTN8 quarter-finals this weekend.

The top-eight tournament will kick off on Saturday, 17 October when defending champions SuperSport United will square off against DStv Premiership newcomers Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), to secure a spot in the running for the grand prize.

Of the teams competing in this year’s tournament, Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United all have won the title more than once, Cape Town City once, while Mamelodi Sundowns, TTM, Bloemfontein Celtics and Maritzburg United have never lifted the trophy.

1) Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila vs SuperSport United

Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC and SuperSport United will start proceedings when they lock horns at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday in the opening encounter, with kick-off set for 3pm.

This will be the first-ever appearance for TTM in the MTN8 competition, having earned their spot after successfully buying the PSL status of Bidvest Wits, who finished fourth place in the league last season.

Matsatsantsa have enjoyed more success in the competition over the last three campaigns than any other team after beating Cape Town City in 2017 and Highlands Park in 2019 to clinch the title, while narrowly missing out on the title in 2018 when they were defeated by the Citizens.

2) Orlando Pirates vs Cape Town City

In the second match of the day Orlando Pirates welcome Cape Town City to the Orlando Stadium, in what is expected to be a highly contested encounter scheduled for 6pm.

Pirates are the second-most successful side in the history of this competition, with nine titles in 15 appearances, but have found it hard to clinch silverware in recent years with their only trophy lifted the Nedbank Cup in 2014.

The Citizens have only appeared in the previous four editions of the competition, reaching the finals on two occasions. But, after falling short in the final in 2017, City lifted the trophy the following year after beating SuperSport in the final.

3) Kaizer Chiefs vs Maritzburg United

In the first encounter on Sunday, Gavin Hunt's Kaizer Chiefs take on Eric Tinkler’s Maritzburg United at the FNB Stadium – with kick-off scheduled for 3pm.

Hunt will be hoping to advance to the semi-final of the competition in his first game in charge of Amakhosi and finally break the club's longest trophy drought in their 50 years of existence. Their last success in the competition came in 2014 when they beat rivals Orlando Pirates.

The Team of Choice, meanwhile, will be making their fourth appearance in the MTN8, but previously only reached the semi-finals back in 2017 when they beat Mamelodi Sundowns in the first round.

4) Mamelodi Sundowns vs Bloemfontein Celtic

In the final quarter-final clash, Mamelodi Sundowns host Bloemfontein Celtic at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday, with kick-off scheduled for 6pm.

Coming off their treble-winning season, Sundowns will be hoping to stamp their authority on the competition as this is the only trophy that has eluded the club. The Brazilians came close to winning the title four times but fell short at the final hurdle every time.

Meanwhile, Celtic will be hoping to exact revenge on Sundowns, who beat them in the Nedbank Cup final last month, when they face off in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

Unlike Sundowns, Celtic have already lifted this trophy when they stunned SuperSport United 1-0 in 2005 for their first-ever MTN8 title.