DURBAN – Benni McCarthy was still in the colours of Orlando Pirates as a player when the team last defended the MTN8 crown.
The Cape Town City boss will now be on a mission to become the first manager in the history of the MTN8 competition to win the Cup back-to-back.
McCarthy captured his maiden urn last season when he swept past SuperSport United on penalties to be crowned champions.
It was jubilation for McCarthy in only his second season at the helm.
In his debut season, McCarthy reached the final but unfortunately succumbed to a defeat on penalties against the same SuperSport team as they denied him a dream debut as a coach in the elite league.
The former Bafana Bafana hitman seems to have a love affair with the MTN8.
Without a doubt, in the back of McCarthy’s mind will be an ambition to reach a hat-trick of finals and defend it – a record that could stay intact for years to come.
When McCarthy joined Pirates in 2011, he helped them defend their crown.
The Buccaneers dispatched Moroka Swallows on penalties to lift the trophy back in 2010 at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The following year, the Sea Robbers were pitted against their sworn rivals, Kaizer Chiefs.
Oupa Manyisa proved to be the hero of the day with his long range strike the only goal of the game and Pirates emerged as victors.
The Buccaneers became the first team in the era of MTN sponsorship to win the Cup back-to-back, and nobody has managed to emulate eZimnyama.
McCarthy and his soldiers will, however, know very well that on the way to setting new records in this competition they will have to go through a couple of challenges.The first one is in the form of Polokwane City whom they host at Newland Rugby Stadium on Saturday at 3pm.
The clash promises to be a mouth-watering affair as Polokwane are high on confidence having amassed two victories in their opening two league fixtures. The Limpopo-based club will surely be looking to upset McCarthy’s men in their own territory.
City are also unbeaten in their two outings in the league but in one of those they shared the spoils with another Limpopo campaigners, Baroka FC.
At the weekend they brushed off their neighbours Stellenbosch FC 1-0.
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