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23 August 2018, by: Thathe Msimango

Youth vs Experience in MTN8 CUP

The chase for R8 million prize money continues as the MTN8 cup competition enters the semi-finals stage. The first leg matches sees Mamelodi Sundowns travel to Cape Town Stadium to collide with Cape Town City and Supersport United hosting Kaizer Chiefs.

Fans are expecting nothing but humdinger clashes!

Young coaches pitted against experienced campaigners is the theme of this weekend. Benni McCarthy will resume his battle with Pitso Mosimane when the two coaches go head to head for the fourth time. McCarthy, who’s entering second year as City’s head coach, will look to turn the tables after being humbled twice by Mosimane. Cape Town City are capable of producing stellar performances against so called ‘big teams” – see their demolition of Sundowns last year.

Pitso will be looking to bounce back from a uninspiring goalless draw against Highlands Park with a much needed victory. Both teams possess quality players that are capable of grinding results. Experience may prove instrumental with Mosimane looking to use it in his favor while McCarthy will hope to motivate his players to find the result.

The Supersport-Chiefs match is new kid, Kaitano Tembo, against a well travelled Giovanni Solinas. Tembo faces a huge challenge with United going through a testing transition period. They disappointed last season and only escaped relegation on the last day. The Zimbabwean tactician might be new to the head coach position, but he has more than 10 years of experience serving as a coach in the youth structures of the Tswane based outfit.

He has enjoyed a near-perfect start in a league winning two out of three matches and defeating Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 quarter finals. Solinas, however, has endured a rocky start with the Italian yet to register a league win this season in four attempts. His team did completely outplay Free state stars in the MTN8 quarter final. Will Tembo continue his dream start or will the seasoned Solinas turn the Amakhosi season around?

Pitso Mosimane has enjoyed 6 trophy laden years with Brazilians winning seven trophies since he took over in 2012. He will be ultra-motivated as he has yet to taste MTN8 success. A positive result in Cape Town will take him one step closer to his dream. The 54-year-old former Bafana Bafana coach will rely on the quality of his squad to guide him through.

The South African trophy kings, Chiefs, have been left hunting for the past three years after a trophy drought under Steve Komphela.. Amakhosi decided to hire Giovanni Solinas, who has one trophy under his belt as a coach where he won North African cup with ES Setif of Algeria in 2011. His Algerian experience and along with the arrival of Khama Billiat and Lebohang Manyama shows the club mean business. Chiefs fans demand trophies and success and this will be vital to Solinas establishing himself at the club.

Nothing will excite Kaitano Tembo more than announcing himself with a trophy in his first year as United coach. Supersport are the defending champions and the pressure is on them to defend their title . The route to success doesn’t seem easy for them with the three strong teams left in the competition.

Benni McCarthy will be eager to go one better than last year after losing to Supersport on penalties in the final. He might have a very promising career as a coach but to win trophies will be earning extra respect at this stage of his career..

Both games are tricky to predict. Cape Town City have an excellent home record and I think they will press home the advantage against a strong Sundowns side. I’m going for City to win 1-0.

Kaizer Chiefs don’t have good record recently against Supersport United losing twice and drawing once in the last three matches. The match won’t provide lot of goals since both team are not immaculate in front of goal. I predict 1-1 draw.

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