Pitso Mosimane targets elusive MTN8 trophy for Mamelodi Sundowns

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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has won everything possible on his club coaching career, though he has had an unhappy relationship with the MTN8 that kicks off this weekend in South Africa.

Mosimane last lifted the trophy in 2004 while at SuperSport United, but has endured a long wait to add to that single title.

Since then he has won the CAF Champions League and Super Cup, the domestic Absa Premiership title on three occasions, the Nedbank Cup competition twice and the Telkom Knockout.

Mosimane has blamed his team's recent troubles in the MTN8, which has seen them exit in the quarter finals in three of the last four seasons, on their hectic Champions League campaign, which meant either no or very little time off for players between seasons.

That left them fatigued and slow to get into the new campaign, and therefore not at their peak for the MTN8.

"We love the MTN8 and we want it," Mosimane told reporters. "For me personally it's not about money, it's about winning the titles and making the team realise that they need to be lifting the trophies. There is nothing that I love more than seeing that."

Sundowns open their campaign against Lamontville Golden Arrows in a quarter final at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday (15h00), with the last of their three titles coming 11 years ago in 2007.

It will be a chance for redemption of sorts for new signing Lyle Lakay, who missed a penalty for Cape Town City in the post-match shoot-out of last year's final as they went down to SuperSport United.

"[Laughs] It's not good memories for me if you remember last year at Cape Town City when I missed one of the penalties [in the final], and I know this trophy is missing in the club's cabinet," Lakay began.

"I want it just as much as the club does."

Lakay looks likely to be given another run after an impressive start to his stay with Sundowns, where he has been converted from winger to left-back.

"Since I've been here I have gelled really nicely with the players," he said. "I know most of the players from previous teams and playing against them before, so I know their strengths.

"For me it is just about listening to the coach's instructions and working hard."

Midfielder Themba Zwane admits that the players who have been at the club for some time know that their failure to collect the MTN8 trophy has been a disappointment to many.

"For the last few seasons we have started slow and that's why we have not managed to get this cup, so that's why this season we need to start strong," Zwane said. "We are all aware that we have not won this cup before [as a group], so we must all work hard to win this one.

"We all want this one."

This will be the first meeting between Mamelodi Sundowns and Lamontville Golden Arrows in the MTN8 competition, which the Durban-based side won handsomely in 2009 as they inflicted a 6-0 defeat on Ajax Cape Town in the final, a record knockout decider victory in South African football history.

Their coach on that occasion was Manqoba Mngqithi, who is now assistant to Mosimane at Sundowns.

Arrows have only won three of their previous 21 visits to Sundowns, but the last of those was just last season in the Nedbank Cup when they claimed a 1-0 success.

Kaizer Chiefs will look to bounce back from their dismal 3-1 league loss to Bidvest Wits when they face Free State Stars in their quarterfinal at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening (18h00).

New coach Giovanni Solinas had two spells at Stars in 2016, and it is at least a side he knows well, while Ea Lla Koto won their first major trophy in 24 years when they lifted the Nedbank Cup at the end of last season, beating Chiefs 2-0 in the semi finals.

Solinas has been handed something of a hospital pass by only being appointed by Chiefs a few weeks before the start of the season, giving him little time to implement his philosophy.

"We want to play offensive football and try to dominate the game. We have to work as well on our defensive and offensive game, as we need to improve on our finishing," he told the club's website.

"It takes time to implement our philosophy of football. We need to be patient. We will get there and I feel positive about the future."

Chiefs have generally dominated Stars down the years, except in cup matches, where there have been eight previous clashes, with Chiefs claiming three wins, Stars three and two draws.

Orlando Pirates' hunt for a first trophy since 2014 starts with a home quarter final against defending champions SuperSport United at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night (20h30).

Pirates have made an impressive start to the new season, despite their opening 1-1 draw with Highlands Park, and come up against a SuperSport side who have the ability to match anybody on their day, but tend to blow hot and cold.

Pirates have not made it past the quarter-final stage in their last two appearances in the MTN8, while they did not qualify for the 2017 tournament at all after finishing 11th in the league the season before.

SuperSport have lost in the quarter finals in seven of the last nine seasons - though the two odd years out they made the final. They lost in the decider to Moroka Swallows in 2012 but then beat Cape Town City on penalties in 2017.

Sunday sees the fourth quarter final between Maritzburg United and Cape Town City at the Harry Gwala Stadium (15h00).

Maritzburg, so impressive last season, have made an iffy start to the new campaign with a home league loss to Golden Arrows (2-0) and a defeat at Free State Stars (2-1).

They are in need of a boost of confidence, while City have been their usual Jekyll & Hyde selves under coach Benni McCarthy, their excellent opening day 2-0 win over SuperSport followed by a poor 2-1 loss at Baroka FC.