The former Wafa Wafa winner has shared his thoughts on the upcoming fixtures in the cup competition
Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Benson Mhlongo believes MTN8 Cup champions Cape Town City will have to dig deep to defend their Wafa Wafa crown as the quarter-final matches get underway this weekend.
The Citizens face Polokwane City, the Buccaneers welcome Bloemfontein Celtic, Mamelodi Sundowns meet Bloemfontein Celtic as the cup competition gets underway on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the final clash of the opening round will see Bidvest Wits host SuperSport United on Sunday afternoon, and the former title winner has backed a consistent team to lift this season’s trophy.
“All four of them are thrilling encounters. If you look at the match against Wits and SuperSport you will see what I mean, SuperSport is fresh from winning against a big team,” Mhlongo told Goal.
“Wits, on the other hand, are also motivated because they won their midweek game. So, it is a very interesting weekend for South African football.
“You will also expect a beautiful game of football between Sundowns and Celtic. These teams always produce good football and we have Pirates at Orlando Stadium against Highlands Park. I expect to see goals because it’s a four-game thriller for the supporters to enjoy.”
Speaking about the fact coach Benni McCarthy will want to retain their trophy, the former MTN8 winner with Platinum Stars has tipped the most consistent team to emerge as new champions.
“It won’t be easy to defend the title judging the quality of teams that have qualified. City will face Polokwane and they cannot underestimate them,” warned the legend.
“All the teams have improved this season and we have seen the brand of football and goals so far. I think to defend it, one must be consistent, score goals and ensure the defence is sorted and solid.”
With teams such as the Clever Boys, the Citizens, Masandawana and the Buccaneers playing at home, ‘Mayanga’ has shared mixed reactions on who has the home advantage.
“Home advantage doesn’t matter that much these days because it depends on a number of factors. Cape Town City has an advantage in Cape Town and we know they don’t lose easily at home,” responded the former Wits player.
“For Pirates, they are under pressure and it will depend on how they approach the game because their supporters can put the players under pressure. That can cause the players to lose focus and become eager to score goals, thus losing and forgetting the instructions from the managers.
“I think they will have to be mentally strong to overcome the pressure and adapt in the game. However, we cannot say the same thing for Sundowns, their fans have changed in the past few seasons.
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“They keep singing irrespective of what is happening in the field of play. I think Pirates fans must adopt that because they sometimes put the players under pressure at home.
“My advice is to the players to play their normal game, make the supporters happy but they must not feel under pressure and perform miracles. This year’s tournament is for the fans.
“They must come in numbers because there are new ways especially designed for them. They have a chance to vote for the man of the match, they voted for us to become the ambassadors and they cannot afford to miss this one.”