Cape Town - Bloemfontein Celtic coach Clinton Larsen will look on at the eight clubs that progressed to the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals with envy as he remembers the joy he felt when he won the competition in 2012.
Larsen, then in his first stint in charge of Celtic, steered his club to a surprise win over Mamelodi Sundowns, and he still beams a broad smile in recollection.
"As most coaches will tell you, you need a little luck to win any knockout competition," said Larsen.
"Everyone knows how prestigious the Telkom Knockout is. When you win it, it’s an amazing feeling.
"It might only take four matches, but the route to lifting the trophy is always a difficult one.
"That’s where the joy of winning comes in…knowing it was a tough route to eventually lift it.”
Larsen says trying to describe the joy of success is hard to verbalise. “It is really an unbelievable sensation. It’s so hard to try and get that across to someone who hasn’t experienced it.”
Larsen, regarded as one of the most exciting young coaches in the Premier Soccer League and a potential future Bafana Bafana boss, says he is also not a believer in the widely held theory that cup-winning clubs suffer from a hangover after they win the Telkom Knockout.
"It is our biggest challenge and everyone was waiting for us to under perform after we won the Telkom Knockout in 2012.
"It’s up to the coaches not to relax because if you do that after winning the Telkom Knockout, it will lead to things going astray.
"We finished fifth in the league after winning the Telkom Knockout, so we did not suffer any hangover,” concluded Larsen.
Celtic was knocked out of this year’s Telkom Knockout in the agony of post-match penalties, losing 3-2 at home to Mpumalanga Black Aces after they had played out a goalless draw in their first-round tie.
TKO quarter-final fixtures:
Saturday, October 24
Orlando Pirates vs Maritzburg United (Orlando Stadium, 15:00)
Black Aces vs Kaizer Chiefs (Mbombela Stadium, 18:00)
SuperSport United vs Golden Arrows (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 20:15)
Sunday, October 25
Free State Stars vs Mamelodi Sundowns (Goble Park Stadium, 15:00)