MTN8: Time for Zimbos to make amends

Kaizer Chiefs versus Orlando Pirates! With the traditional Battle of Zimbabwe between Highlanders and Dynamos now having been relegated into a Dynamos-takes-all affair, Zimbabwean interest has now shifted to the Soweto Derby.

Willard Katsande.
Willard Katsande.

The two sides clash in the final of the MTN8 Trophy next week, with the Zimbabwean contingent at Chiefs seeking to wipe away the tears of last season, where they ended without a trophy, despite having began the season well.

The final is penciled-in for September 20, at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, but the big-match fever has begun to be felt already ahead of what promises to be a mouthwatering tie.

Pirates, for all their bad start last season, lifted the Nedbank Cup when that campaign ended and have already had the better of their bitter rivals, when they won the season-opening Carling Cup. That will therefore, give Chiefs players and added impetus to emerge victorious at their favourite hunting ground.

Fans played their part in giving the game its importance – when they bought all the tickets in a manner that saw the match sold out four hours after tickets were made available at the weekend.

“About 30,000 tickets were sold in the first 90 minutes of MTN8 Final tickets going on sale on Friday and they are now sold out,” said PSL spokesman, Luxolo September.

“Tickets went on sale in the morning of September 5 and by 14h30, only 20,000 tickets were available, but now it has been confirmed that all 50,000 tickets have been snapped up.”

No doubt, most Zimbabwean interest in the tie will be vested on Chiefs, the only of the two sides certain to parade Zimbabweans in their line-up. Willard Katsande, Kingstone Nkhatha, Matthew Rusike and Ovidy Karuru are set to make an impact in a game they would hopefully use to make-up for a barren last season.

While Pirates have just rediscovered their form under former Chiefs coach, Vladimir Vermezovic, their rivals go into the tie at the backdrop of a good August, whereby they won all their league games.

Katsande and Nkhatha have been instrumental in that purple patch for Chiefs, while Karuru has also shown some flashes of brilliance whenever thrown into the fray and the three could all be used in the game, while Rusike, who has just returned from injury, could also come in as a substitute.

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