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MTN8: Quarter-finals Preview

Eight strong teams in South African top-flight football will gun for MTN8

Eight strong teams in South African top-flight football will gun for MTN8 glory over the next couple of weeks and the journey starts this weekend as we have four enticing clashes on the menu. It’s time to enjoy highly-entertaining football and while at it, try and make some money. Will Mamelodi Sundowns brush Golden Arrows aside? Will Orlando Pirates finally break their SuperSport United hoodoo? Will Giovanni Solinas get the better of Luc Eymael? Who will emerge victorious at Harry Gwala Stadium when Cape Town City pay Fadlu Davids’ Maritzburg United a visit?


Saturday 11 August

Mamelodi Sundowns 11/20 
Draw 26/10 
Golden Arrows 52/10 

Pitso Mosimane’s men have had competitive football over the last couple of weeks due to their CAF Champions League involvement. The Brazilians have also met Kaizer Chiefs twice in the last two weeks, winning the Shell Helix Ultra Cup match and drawing their league encounter. Signing Lebohang Maboe, Reyaad Pieterse and Mosa Lebusa has given them the much-needed depth for a team that plays many games. Arrows displayed great defensive discipline when they beat Maritzburg United 2-0 in their Absa Premiership opener. Lerato Lamola’s pace and intelligence comes in handy when counter attacks have to be launched and the team profited from it when he scored the second goal. Knox Mutizwa showed signs of sharpness when he scored the opener in spectacular fashion. I’m backing Sundowns to win at home.

Kaizer Chiefs 17/20 
Draw 9/4 
Free State Stars 33/10 

Chiefs managed to hold their own against Sundowns in the league last week and they actually scored first in the 1-1 stalemate. It looks like newly-signed Khama Billiat will be a key player this season as his first competitive performance for Amakhosi earned him the Man of the Match award. Giovanni Solinas has received his work permit and the team plays with confidence when he’s on the sidelines and not in the stands. This time he will be facing his former team in the shape of Ea Lla Koto. After a fantastic last season, Free State Stars started the current campaign on a bad note, suffering a 3-0 drubbing at Bidvest Wits. Their dominance over Chiefs in the last couple of years in cup competitions is well documented as they knocked them out of the 2016 Telkom Knockout and this year’s Nedbank Cup. I foresee this match ending with another cup competition win for the visitors.

Orlando Pirates 8/10  
Draw 23/10 
SuperSport United 7/2 

Orlando Pirates are facing their hoodoo team as Matsatsantsa head into the encounter having remained unbeaten in the last nine meetings with the Buccaneers. Ezimnyama Ngenkani played to a 1-1 draw with Highlands Park in their league opener with goalkeeper, Wayne Sandilands, committing another costly howler. They will be looking to finally get one over SuperSport who lost their opener 2-0 to Cape Town City. Kaitano Tembo has been promoted to permanent head coaching position and it shall be very interesting to see how he resurrects a team that has been in demise since Stuart Baxter’s departure. I say the Buccaneers finally manage to edge SuperSport out.

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Sunday 12 August

Maritzburg United 14/10 
Draw 2/1 
Cape Town City 2/1 

Maritzburg United played well in their 2-0 defeat to Arrows but failure to convert chances and inability to deal with counters cost them. The team has recently lost the services of Lebohang Maboe but it seems like Keagan Buchanan isn’t a bad replacement at all. In four previous meetings between these two sides, The Team of Choice has won two and lost one. Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City dictated the middle of the park against SuperSport last week with the triangle of Teko Modise, Thabo “Kante” Nodada and Roland Putsche having a blinder. Sphelele Mthembu wasn’t much of a threat upfront as he’s still trying to settle in. This will be tight encounter and I foresee it ending in draw after regulation time.

QUAD @ 35/1
Sundowns Win 11/20
Free State Stars Win 33/10
Orlando Pirates Win 8/10
Maritzburg vs Cape Town City (Draw) 2/1

Written by Benedict Ngwenya

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