Cause for much cel­e­bra­tion as new sea­son kicks off

CityPress - - Sport - S’BUSISO MSELEKU sm­se­leku@city­press.co.za

If you bumped into some­one whistling or hum­ming Gene Kelly’s ditty Singing in the Rain, chances will be that it’s a South African soc­cer fan.

The music will be in cel­e­bra­tion of the good days be­ing back as pro­fes­sional do­mes­tic foot­ball makes a wel­come re­turn with the MTN8 quar­ter­fi­nals kick­ing off on Fri­day.

And the soc­cer gods couldn’t have planned it bet­ter than to have dou­ble de­fend­ing champions – Bid­vest Wits, who lifted this tro­phy and the Absa Premier­ship ti­tle last year – open­ing the ac­count against La­montville Golden Ar­rows at the Bid­vest Sta­dium.

The fix­ture will al­low the wily Gavin Hunt an op­por­tu­nity to un­leash his new weapons from his ever grow­ing ar­se­nal in the likes of for­mer Bafana Bafana skip­per Steven Pien­aar, Thato Thlone, Kobamelo Kodisang Day­lon Claasen and Slavko Dam­janovic.

The quin­tet was re­cently un­veiled to­gether with a new kit.

Af­ter break­ing Wits’ duck – win­ning the first league for the first time in the club’s 92 years of ex­is­tence – Hunt will be will­ing to build on that suc­cess.

Known for his quest and undy­ing de­sire to achieve, no one in their right mind can ex­pect Hunt to rest on his lau­rels and just en­joy last sea­son’s achieve­ments.

De­spite be­ing at home and at a kick-off time of 8pm that usu­ally suits them, The Stu­dents must ex­pect some stern re­sis­tance from Ar­rows.

The Dur­ban side mounted quite a de­cent cam­paign to­wards the end of last sea­son and were justly re­warded by sneak­ing into the top eight on the last day of the sea­son.

Clin­ton Larsen, who has proved not to be a slouch at all when it comes to coach­ing mat­ters, will also be dy­ing to build on his rep­u­ta­tion.

And there would be no bet­ter way to do this than to claim the scalp of the MTN8 and league champions.

Ticket sales opened this week at Tick­et­Pro out­lets, Jet Stores, Edgars, CNA and PostNet.

For Fri­day’s game, adults will have to fork out R40, and chil­dren younger than 12 pay R15.

On Satur­day, green­horn Benni McCarthy breaks his coach­ing vir­gin­ity when his troops face Polok­wane City at the Cape Town Sta­dium in a 3pm kick-off.

Later on in the day, Steve Kom­phela will be af­forded an op­por­tu­nity to sal­vage his tat­tered im­age when Kaizer Chiefs play Su­perS­port United at “home” – Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium.

Chiefs and Or­lando Pi­rates tend to be home wher­ever they lay their heads due to their huge fol­low­ing.

The Amakhosi coach must be aim­ing at rec­ti­fy­ing the pain caused to the myr­iad of Khosi-4-Life sup­port­ers when he lost 1-0 to Ajax Cape Town in the fi­nal two sea­sons ago in his maiden sea­son with the club.

And his jour­ney to re­demp­tion starts on Satur­day.

Tick­ets for these two fix­tures go for R60 for adults and R15 for kids.

Pitso Mosi­mane’s side, Mamelodi Sun­downs, brings down the quarterfinal stage cur­tain when they host Mar­itzburg United at Lu­cas “Mas­ter­pieces” Moripe Sta­dium on Sun­day.

Tick­ets for this match go for R40 for adults and R15 for chil­dren.

PHOTO: DIRK KOTZE / GALLO IMAGES

CHAMPIONS Bid­vest Wits cel­e­brate their MTN8 fi­nal vic­tory last sea­son. They open their de­fence against La­montville Golden Ar­rows on Fri­day

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