The MTN8 trophy made another pit stop at the Vukani offices, on Thursday.
This time around the trophy was delivered by football legends, a born-and-bred Capetonian Brent Evans and former Bafana Bafana and Vasco da Gama forward Sibusiso Zuma.
The trophy landed at our offices on time before the much anticipated MTN8 first leg semi-final clash between Cape Town City and Moroka Swallows on Saturday. The game, which was played at Athlone Stadium at the weekend, ended in a goalless draw.
The two sides will have another go at each other in the second leg, in Soweto, on Wednesday September 29.
Zuma and Carelse, who both at some point in their illustrious careers, played their football in Cape Town, tipped The Citizens to emerge victorious over two legs.
“I think Cape Town City will go through. They have exciting players like Thabo Nodada, who can unlock any defence. Actually, Cape Town City’s midfield, which is a mix of youngsters and experience, will be too much for Swallows,” said Zuma.
“Besides that, they know how to win this competition. They have been there before.”
Cape Town City won the same tournament under the charismatic coach, and another Capetonian, Benni McCarthy in 2018. They beat the highly-rated Supersport United 4-1 on penalties after a goalless draw in that year’s final.
Carelse agreed with Zuma. “Cape Town City looks the part. They know how to win this competition. After all, they have been there and the side has been gelling well. This cup is about goals and we should expect a lot of them. Remember the tournament is played over two legs and who-ever wins the first leg should know it’s not over yet,” said Carelse.
But this is 2021 and a lot has changed since 2018, when Cape Town City won the competition.
Eric Tinkler is back as the Citizens’ coach and Swallows, promoted at the beginning of last season, is one of the best football-playing sides in the country right now.
Saturday’s first leg match against Swallows was a tough, and exciting one, between two football-playing sides.
That shouldn’t have been really surprising though. Swallows, after all, is coached by a Capetonian, Brendon Truter, who once coached Grassy Park-based Milano United juniors. It is, then, not surprising that one of his side’s most dangerous players, Ruzaigh Gamaldien, cut his football teeth at Milano in 2010. He went on to play for Celtic, AmaZulu, and Ajax among other sides. He’s one of the most lethal goal poachers in the league right now.
Besides Gamaldien, Swallows have in their books exciting 25-year-old midfielder Fawaaz Basadien, in their books. And, like Gamaldien, the young Basadien started off at Milano United juniors as a “kid”.
So, the encounter between The Citizens and the Birds is, literally, a Cape Town affair, and whoever comes up tops after the second leg, which will scheduled to take place in Johannesburg on Wednesday September 29, will make Cape Town proud.
The tournament will see the Top8 teams from the previous DStv Premiership season coming together in this prestigious knockout competition, well known as Wafa-Wafa, Winner Take All, that comes with a grand prize of R8 million.