Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic will renew their Cup rivalry when the teams meet in the quarter-finals of the MTN8.
Sundowns will be looking to advance further in this year’s MTN8, having been eliminated by Platinum Stars in the quarterfinals in 2014.
The Brazilians went on to finish second in the Absa Premiership, well off the pace of champions Kaizer Chiefs, but they did pick up the Nedbank Cup at the end of the season after defeating Ajax Cape Town.
Pitso Mosimane has retained essentially the same squad that did duty last season, though the likes of Mogakolodi Ngele and Keagan Dolly – who stayed with Platinum Stars and Ajax Cape Town on loan respectively - have now linked up with the Tshwane side.
Celtic will also be aiming for a better showing in the MTN8, having been ousted in the quarter-finals last year by Bidvest Wits. The Bloemfontein side lost 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw between the teams in Johannesburg.
Phunya Sele Sele have Clinton Larsen back in charge, with the former coach taking over last season after Celtic and Ernst Middendorp parted ways. Larsen was able to guide the team to a seventh-place finish on the log and earn them a sixth successive ticket to the Top Eight Cup.
Celtic has seen plenty of comings and goings in the transfer market this year, allowing the likes of Mogogi Gabonamong and Joel Mogorosi to depart, but securing a permanent deal for Musa Nyatama (who was on loan from Sundowns) and bringing in the likes of Geofrey Massa, Thabang Matuka and Vuyisile Wana.
In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Celtic have met in no less than 11 previous cup matches since 1985. The first dates all the way back to the second round of the 1987 Mainstay Cup, while the most recent was in the first round of the 2013/14 Telkom Knockout where ‘Downs claimed an emphatic 4-0 win.
The Brazilians have generally dominated Phunya Sele Sele in the teams’ rivalry, claiming eight wins from 11 cup matches (compared to three wins for Celtic) and 35 wins from 65 matches overall (compared to 15 win for the Bloemfontein club).
Their most recent meeting was an astonishing league match in April earlier this year in which Celtic claimed a 5-0 away win over ‘Downs, effectively ending their slim hopes of retaining the championship. No doubt Mosimane and his charges will be eager to claim some revenge against the team in green and white.
The match will be played at the Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on Wednesday, August 5.
Kick-off is at 19:30.