The MTN8 fi­nal: Too hard to call

Cape Town City coach McCarthy look­ing to win first ti­tle as coach while Su­perS­port coach Tin­kler hopes to make ti­tle suc­cess a habit

The New Age (Gauteng) - - SPORT - NEVILLE KHOZA nevillek@the­newage.co.za

IF PRE­VI­OUS cup com­pe­ti­tions are any­thing to go then in to­mor­row’s MTN8 fi­nal be­tween Su­perS­port United and Cape Town City, Eric Tin­kler’s men should be the favourites.

But that is un­likely to be the case when the two teams meet at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium for the R8m win­ner take all prize.

Su­perS­port have more ex­pe­ri­ence in win­ning cup fi­nals but that might count for noth­ing. The last time the two clubs met in a fi­nal was in the Telkom Knock­out in De­cem­ber with the Cit­i­zens claim­ing a 2­1 vic­tory while Tin­kler was still the coach.

As the two sides pre­pare for their sec­ond fi­nal in a year, there is clearly a lot at stake, given the cash prize and es­pe­cially also for City coach Benni McCarthy who will want to win his first ti­tle as a coach in his first sea­son at the helm.

Bafana Bafana’s all­time lead­ing goal scorer has won many ti­tles as a player and will want to repli­cate that as a coach.

On the other hand, Tin­kler won his first ti­tle as a coach when City de­feated Su­perS­port in the Telkom Knock­out fi­nal and will be look­ing to win his sec­ond with Mat­sat­santsa a Pi­tori.

Strik­ers Lehlo­honolo Ma­joro and Jeremy Brockie will look to carry their teams to glory to­mor­row.

City, un­der the guid­ance of McCarthy, edged Polokwane City 1­0 in the first round be­fore elim­i­nat­ing de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Bid­vest Wits with a 3­1 semi­fi­nal vic­tory to set up a fi­nal against Su­perS­port.

McCarthy, who has a Cham­pi­ons League win­ners’ medal to his name dur­ing his time with Porto, says he is “not feel­ing any pres­sure”.

Not yet any­way.

“To be hon­est, no, there are no nerves yet,” McCarthy said.

“I sup­pose when Fri­day comes, it will hit me. But, for now, it’s just im­por­tant that I pre­pare the team prop­erly. It’s just a game of foot­ball, like any other and it’s im­por­tant not to be­gin to treat it any dif­fer­ently.”

Tin­kler said his pri­or­ity is win­ning the MTN8 fi­nal and after that he will think about the CAF Confederation Cup semi­fi­nal date against Club Africain next Satur­day.

“I want to suc­ceed. I want to win things. I want to be in fi­nals. That’s where you mea­sure your­self as a player and as a coach.

“For me, it made all the sense in the world com­ing to a good club like Su­perS­port. I am liv­ing my dream,” Tin­kler said. » This will be the sec­ond meet­ing be­tween these two teams in a cup fi­nal. Last year, City won 2-1 to lift the Telkom Knock­out ti­tle – with Aubrey Ngoma and Ju­das Moseamedi scor­ing the goals, while Kingston Nkhatha scored a con­so­la­tion goal for United.

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Eric Tin­kler was the coach when City lifted the Telkom Knock but on Satur­day, he will be sit­ting on the op­pos­ing bench. With first­hand knowl­edge of both sides, he is well­placed to get one over his for­mer team.

This will be Benni McCarthy’s first cup fi­nal as a coach.

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» The for­mer striker has so far been just as trail­blaz­ing in his role as coach as he was as a player and all eyes will be on the bat­tle of South Africa’s new gen­er­a­tion of coaches.

Su­perS­port will be in their fourth straight cup fi­nal, hav­ing reached the fi­nal of the Ned­bank Cup twice and Telkom Knock­out.

Out of the four cham­pi­onship matches, the team from Tsh­wane pre­vailed in two, while new kid on the block City have won the sin­gle fi­nal they have been in since the team was formed only a sea­son ago.

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