Tshwane derby headlines TKO 2016 quarter-finals

The face off between Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United is expected to be the centre of attention.

FILE: The Telkom Knockout trophy. Picture: Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG – The Premier Soccer League will take a break this weekend, with all the attention shifting to the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals, with the Tshwane Derby between Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United is expected to be the centre of attention.

Looking back at the two teams’ results in the league this week, one wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that SuperSport are the favourites to win this clash, but there’s still the matter of Sundowns being the CAF Champions League winners that makes this an interesting affair.

The Brazilians became the first Southern African team in 21 years to win the coveted Champions League – following on from their PSL success earlier in the year.

Matsatsantsa have also tasted success this year, convincingly beating Orlando Pirates to be crowned the Nedbank Cup champions.

However, the recent match involving these two sides saw Sundowns march to an emphatic 3-1 win in the MTN 8 last eight.

Sundowns’ domination over their Pretoria rivals has been a constant occurrence for the last three seasons, across all competitions, with Supersport’s last win over the men from Mamelodi dating back to 10 March 2013.

Stuart Baxter’s men’s 6-1 rout of Pirates on Tuesday night, which resulted in the untimely resignation of Muhsin Ertugral as head coach, should give them impetus going into this match but they will be wary of Sundowns, who are the defending Telkom Knockout champions.

‘Downs coach Pitso Mosimane’s concern heading into this game is not only his ever-growing injury list to his key players, but also trying to motivate his boys to prioritise this trophy, off the back of clinching the biggest prize in African club football.

“It’s very difficult to play three tournaments – we play Zamalek, we come back, we play Polokwane City in the Telkom Cup and then we play Cape Town City in two days in the league. What do you say to the players? Which one is important? You can’t say they’re all important”

Mosimane says he can’t expect the club’s supporters to understand that some trophies are not as important as others because they’re hungry for them all.

“A Mamelodi Sundowns supporter singing there for his team, he doesn’t see his team saying they have to prioritise, they want everything and I’m supposed to help give them everything.”

A win for either side will likely set up a meeting with one of the Soweto giants, Kaizer Chiefs or Pirates, should they win their matches against Free State Stars and Highlands Park respectively.

Chiefs take on Stars at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Pirates face Highlands at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night, with Baroka taking on Cape Town City in Tembisa on Saturday afternoon.