Key match-ups in the 2018 MTN8 final
The MTN8 final between SuperSport United and Cape Town City will be a fascinating battle between two sides who enjoy playing attacking football and with coaches that are seeking the first pieces of silverware in their careers.
The teams will clash at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday for the second year running in this competition, with SuperSport claiming the R8-million first prize when they met 12 months ago in a game in which a penalty shootout was needed to produce a winner.
There were a number of key match-ups back then and it will be the same in 2018. KweséESPN looks at three head-to-head clashes that could decide the final this time around.
RONWEN WILLIAMS vs. AYANDA PATOSI
Williams has seen a resurgence in his career, based largely on his performances in cup competitions where he has often been the hero for SuperSport.
That includes in open play and from penalty shootouts, of which he has lost just a single one out of six in his career.
Patosi too has been a player reborn, and this season he has become a focal point for City with his excellent set-piece delivery and danger from distance in open play.
He is wearing the number 10 at City this season and has begun to look like the kind of player that deserves to wear that famous number in football. Williams will likely have to be at his best to keep Patosi at bay.
RENEILWE LETSHOLONYANE vs. ROLAND PUTSCHE
The wily old Letsholonyane has not played every game for SuperSport this season, but his big-match temperament and history of winning finals will surely see him selected in Durban.
The 36-year-old has always had a great engine to get up and down the pitch and can be a goalscoring threat, but is equally adept at turning defence into attack in the blink of an eye with quick transitions.
On the other side will be Austrian midfielder Roland Putsche, now in his third season with City and a player who continues to be a stand-out performer. He is perhaps more attacking than Letsholonyane, but like his adversary, uncompromising in the tackle.
Both are intelligent users of the ball and hold the key to their respective sides winning the midfield battle.
EVANS RUSIKE vs. KWANDA MNGONYAMA
With key defender Taariq Fielies suspended for the final, the role of centre-back 'leader' will fall to Mngonyama, who will have an inexperienced performer alongside him whoever is selected as his partner -- one of Keanu Cupido or Kouassi Kouadja.
It is potentially a big moment in the career of Mngonyama, who showed plenty of promise as a youngster at Mamelodi Sundowns, but has not quite managed to reach the heights many expected after spells with Bidvest Wits and Maritzburg United.
Mngonyama has 134 domestic appearances to his name, far more than Kouadja (7) and Cupido (4).
On the other side is the in-form Rusike, a player with great pace who has been the biggest goals (5) and assists (3) contributor to SuperSport this season.
The duo spent two seasons together at Maritzburg and so will know all about the other's ability. It will come down to who can execute their skills the best on the day.