Cape Town - Ajax Cape Town and Kaizer Chiefs will battle for the right to be called 2015 MTN8 champions when they meet in the final at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Ajax have advanced to the final thanks to a 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates in the quarter-finals, followed by a 2-1 aggregate victory against Bidvest Wits in the semifinals.
The Cape Town side, under the leadership of coach Roger De Sa, have looked composed and intelligent in the way they have approached their cup matches, belying their youthful nature.
Chiefs, meanwhile, opened their season with a massively entertaining 5-3 win over Maritzburg United in the quarters, followed by a more controlled and subdued 2-1 aggregate victory over Bloemfontein Celtic in the final four.
New coach Steve Komphela is still imprinting his own identity on the team, and nothing would help his cause more than lifting the MTN8 trophy.
This match sees Ajax and Chiefs renew their rivalry in cup competitions: the teams have met in 11 previous matches in this regard, with the Soweto side claiming four wins compared to three for the Urban Warriors. Each side has scored 12 goals in the sequence.
However, an interesting twist to the cup statistics is that the Amakhosi have never claimed an outright win over Ajax in the Top Eight.
Their first such meeting was in the semifinal of the BP Top 8 back in 2000/01, when the Cape side claimed a stunning 3-0 away win – one of the goals was scored by one of their most famous graduates, former Bafana Bafana captain Steven Pienaar.
The teams next met in the competition in the semi-finals of the MTN8 in 2009: Ajax won their home leg 1-0 before the return game ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw that is remembered as a classic. The pair’s most recent cup clashes were in the semis of the 2011 MTN8. The Amakhosi’s home game ended goalless, while the return leg in Cape Town finished 1-1 – this saw Chiefs advance to the final on away goals.
Included in the teams’ cup history is one final: the 2009/10 Telkom Knockout, which was won 2-1 by Chiefs thanks to goals from Mandla Masango and Knowledge Musona.
Across all competitions, the Amakhosi have claimed 18 wins compared to Ajax’s 12 from 43 matches. Chiefs have also enjoyed superiority over the Cape side in recent meetings: the last three league games between the teams have all been won by the Soweto side, who have scored four unanswered goals in the process.
Kick-off at 15:00 on Saturday, September 19.