Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi says he is aiming to end the Pretoria club’s bad record in the MTN-8 competition this season. Despite dominating in the local league Sundowns have struggled to stamp their authority in the first knockout trophy of the season.

Sundowns last won the MTN-8 trophy 13 years ago when the competition was still known as the SAA Supa 8, under Gordon Igesund.

Since the inception of the Premier Soccer League in 1996, Sundowns have won 11 league titles making them the most successful professional club in the country. They became the first South African club to win the league title four times in a row.

But the same cannot be said about their record in the MTN-8. The last time they won the first knockout trophy of the season was back in 2007.

The Sundowns coach says it’s high time that they start doing well in this competition.

“I think it’s seven years now I’ve been here we’ve struggled with this cup and we are going all out to try and make sure that we finally become the winners of the cup. But that starts with the first step against Kaizer Chiefs. A very difficult encounter with the number of new players that they have brought in,” says Mngqithi.

But Sundown’s will not have it easy, as they open their account against a determined Kaizer Chiefs at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgdeville on Sunday.

Englishman Stuart Baxter, says Chiefs also have the ambition of ending their long six-year trophy drought.

“There’s a hunger here now as you can well imagine. there’s a hunger for success, there’s a pride that has been dented there was then there is now because chiefs is supposed to be about winning things it’s about finishing at the top of the league so it’s the pride that has been dented,” says Baxter.

Meanwhile, Amazulu coach Benni McCarthy is chasing his second MTN-8 trophy since becoming head coach four years ago. McCarthy lifted the trophy with Cape Town City in 2018.

Usuthu will host Cape Town City at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium also on Sunday. McCarthy says they want to continue with their good form from last season.

“For Amazulu Football Club I think it’s a privilege for us you know that we participating in the MTN-8 because it’s been many years that Amazulu have not found themselves playing in this competition and it’s a fantastic way for us to test ourselves against the ever top teams in the league you know,” says McCarthy.

Defending champions Orlando Pirates will welcome Swallows F.C in the original Soweto derby on Saturday. Pirates are the only side to have won the MTN-8 back to back in 2010 and 2011.

Bucs coach Josef Zinnbauer feels confident because he now understands the culture of South African football.

“Maybe now we’ve got more players on the field like in the last season we have more information now how we can play. We have more competition in the team and I have more experience now in terms of playing football in Africa,” says Zinnbauer.

In the opening match of the tournament on Saturday afternoon, 2009 champions SuperSport United will travel to Golden Arrows.