GAUTENG will be the focal point of the Telkom Knockout this weekend when the four quarter-finals take place in the province.
Seven out of the eight remaining teams are all past winners – defending champions Platinum Stars, the most successful club in the competition’s history Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits, Ajax Cape Town and AmaZulu.
The only exception to the list is SuperSport United, who have twice been runners-up, and Matsatsantsa get the last-eight action underway today when they travel to the Bidvest Stadium to face Bidvest Wits.
The match pits Students’ coach Gavin Hunt against his former club, who are now coached by former Bafana Bafana boss Gordon Igesund.
Igesund replaced Cavin Johnson at SuperSport a little under two months ago and he has already turned things around with four wins, three in the Absa Premiership and the other over Free State Stars in the previous round of the cup, from five games.
“It will be a tough match, any team Gavin coaches will be a tough game, they are organised, disciplined and capable of scoring goals going forward,” the ex-South Africa mentor said. “We know we are in for a tough game. It is a pleasure to meet Gavin yet again.”
Hunt was also relishing the showdown, saying: “It is always good to have quality coaches in the league, I think it adds to the value and I feel Gordon certainly does that, he has won a lot of trophies.”
There is also another reunion on the cards in Saturday’s late game as Roger de Sa takes his current club Ajax Cape Town to the Orlando Stadium to face former side Orlando Pirates.
“It’s just Ajax versus Pirates, I don’t think it has anything to do with me,” De Sa said. “We’ve all moved on, I have good memories, good times.”
The Buccaneers have surprisingly only once ever won the League Cup competition, while the Urban Warriors, who are flying high in the Absa Premierhsip currently sitting second, have two wins to their name.
In between the two previously mentioned games, Mamelodi Sundowns lock horns with AmaZulu at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria in what appears to be a one side affair, on paper at least.
The Brazilians are the reigning league champions and have an abundance of talent at their disposal, while Usuthu are bottom of the Premiership pile with their only win in all competitions this season coming in the previous round as they ousted Bloemfontein Celtic.
But home coach Pitso Mosimane admits that football is not won on paper.
“A cup game is once off and any team has a chance,” he warned. “In the end somebody must go through, so it’s not going to be easy for both teams but we’ll give it our best.”
Finally, 13-time champions Chiefs take on holders Stars at the FNB Stadium in the only match on Sunday.
It will be the fourth meeting between the sides already this season and comes fresh on the back of Amakhosi failing to win a game for the first time in 2014/15.
Stuart Baxter’s men were held to a 1-1 league draw on Wednesday, ending a 13-match winning streak in the process and the coach said: “We didn’t play well against Moroka Swallows.
“Our players will therefore be fired up for the Stars clash to make up for the two points lost on Wednesday night.
“Chiefs is a club with ambitions, so you want to win all the trophies available.”-www.psl.co.za