Do You Remember: Chiefs, Ajax MTN8 Histories

The MTN8 takes place on Saturday night with the competition set to conclude the eighth year in its present format and under the current name.

Defending champions Kaizer Chiefs, the most successful team in the history of the Top Eight, will line up against two-time finalists Ajax Cape Town at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth for the right to win the R8-million first prize.

How much can you remember about the competition since MTN became title sponsors in 2008? refreshes some of the memories of the MTN8, with particular focus on how the two teams in the spotlight have progressed over the years.

The first match of the competition was played on 8 August 2008 between Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United.

The Buccaneers, runners-up 12 months earlier, scored the first ever MTN8 goal via debutant Thembile Kanono after eight minutes, but went on to lose the match 2-1 in front of their home fans. The Matsatsantsa scorers were Fikru Lemessa and Anthony Laffor.

Amakhosi's opening MTN8 game was a clash against Santos which they convincingly won 4-0, thanks to a brace by once-fan favourite Gert Schalkwyk. The other scorers on the day were Jose Torrealba as well as Reneilwe Letsholonyane.

The Urban Warriors, meanwhile, were not as fortunate in their first ever MTN8 game, losing 4-3 in extra time to Moroka Swallows - Ryan Botha conjuring up a last-minute winner in Soweto.

Chiefs, coached by Muhsin Ertugral at the time, reached the final by beating Swallows 2-1 on aggregate over the two legs and faced old foes Mamelodi Sundowns in the decisive match.

The result was decided on penalties, the Johannesburg side clinching the inaugural title 4-3 after the match ended goalless after 120 minutes.

Torrealba, Schalkwyk, current captain Siphiwe Tshabalala and 'Yeye' hitting the mark, with Onismor Bhasera missing his kick.

Esrom Nyandoro and Thando Mngomeni failed to scored for the Brazilians, but Surprise Moriri, Lerato Chabangu and Mbulelo Mabizela were on target.

Victory handed Chiefs the Top Eight title for the 14th time in their history. They have since claimed a 15th title after their 2014 success and remain the most successful team in the overall history of the competition.

But they faced a lean spell in the competition thereafter.

The year 2009 promised so much for Ajax as they swept aside favourites Orlando Pirates and Chiefs to reach the final.

First the Capetonians were 2-1 winners over the Buccaneers with goals from a young Thulani Serero and Dipsy Selolwane.

Then, having won the semi-final first leg semi 1-0 over Chief courtesy of a Selolwane goal, they endured a topsy-turvy second leg that eventually ended 3-3 to progress 4-3 on aggregate.

But then came the biggest ever final freeze in South African football history. Ajax failed to pitch in the final and were demolished 6-0 by Lamontville Golden Arrows.

They never qualified for another MTN8 final until 2015.

In 2010, both Ajax and Chiefs were losing semi-finalists, while 2011 saw Amakhosi end as runners-up for the fifth time in their history after surrendering the final to Pirates. Ajax were again last four losers as the Bucs won successive titles, the first time any club had done so in almost two decades.

Twelve months on in 2012Swallows were celebrating their first MTN8 win in a year that saw Chiefs fail to pass the quarter-finals and Ajax fail to even qualify.

The Urban Warriors again failed to qualify in 2013 when Platinum Stars won their first title. Chiefs lost out in the semis once more.

A memorable 2014 was capped with Amakhosi beating Pirates in the final to join their Soweto foes with two wins in the current cycle of MTN's sponsorship.

Ajax were again absent from the competition following a poor previous season, but returned with a bang in 2015.