New MTN8 season to be launched on Wednesday

The 2016/17 MTN8 will be launched tomorrow – signalling the first signs that the new season is almost upon us.

The coming of the competition traditionally marks the start of any South African football season, but this year is slightly delayed due to the national team’s participation in the Olympic Games in Brazil.

But with that global competition now behind us, fans of the eight teams that have qualified, and supporters of football in general, can look forward to finding out more about the 2016/17 edition of the MTN8 when it is launched in Sandton.

The official start date for the first set of fixtures is Friday, August 26, when new franchise Cape Town City host Kaizer Chiefs in Cape Town.

There are two more fixtures on Saturday, August 27 as Platinum Stars take on Chippa United at Royal Bafokeng Stadium and Bidvest Wits play Orlando Pirates at Bidvest Stadium.

On Sunday, August 28, the final quarter-final encounter will see 2015/16 league winners Mamelodi Sundowns clash with SuperSport United at Loftus Stadium.

Ajax Cape Town are the reigning champions, but will miss the chance to defend their title after failing to qualify this season. This after they finished outside the Absa Premiership’s top eight last season.

Only the teams that are placed from first to eighth gain entry into the country’s first major cup competition on the season.

The Urban Warriors won their maiden top-eight title by ousting Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 in the final, which was played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Nathan Paulse (56) was the match-winner with a penalty that stunned Amakhosi in a result thoroughly deserved by Roger da Sa’s men.

Ajax opened their account with a 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates in the quarter-finals, while their semi-final triumph was a 2-1 scoreline, over two legs, against Bidvest Wits.

Chiefs reached the final by beating Maritzburg United (5-3 aet) and then Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 over the double-legged semis.