Johannesburg - On Wednesday October 19, the memories of the MTN8 – currently the richest cup competition on the domestic football calendar – will dim, two-and-a-half weeks after the final.
This is the date determined by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) for the beginning of a fight over yet another chalice, the Telkom Knockout Cup.
All 16 PSL clubs will fight for the R4 million grand prize at the end of the rainbow on December 10, the day of the final.
The draw, with a seeding based on where the clubs finished in the Absa Premiership log last season, saw the big guns – Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns – avoid playing one another.
One thing the three clubs have in common, though, is that they will play their opening fixtures at home.
This just might be a good thing for the fans and sponsors.
While an early meeting between the giants does not usually go down well with supporters and the financial backers, not playing one another also does not always guarantee that they will meet in the final.
One of the factors that make cup competitions interesting and exciting is the unpredictability of the results.
Underdogs can triumph and thus upset the apple cart, so there are no guarantees that the big clubs will emerge unscathed from even the first hurdle.
Sundowns will open its defence by hosting Polokwane City, while Chiefs will entertain Maritzburg United and Pirates will lay down the proverbial red carpet for Lamontville Golden Arrows.
Chiefs and Pirates should be the hungrier clubs going into the competition.
The past season was one the two Soweto giants would prefer to forget as both went empty-handed, something that has not happened in a long time.
But Sundowns, which still has the CAF Champions League final to contend with, might have other ideas about successfully defending their prized asset.
December 10 will tell us which one of the 16 clubs in South Africa’s top flight will have a Merry Christmas.