#TKO2016: The semi-final preview

Cape Town City will be bidding to make history when the Telkom Knockout semi-finals take centre stage on Saturday.

Eric Tinkler's side and Free State Stars meet in the first last-four encounter at Cape Town Stadium, with the former bidding to reach the final for the first time in their history..

The hosts, who are a new brand to the Premier Soccer League after buying the status of Mpumalanga Black Aces over the winter, have been extremely impressive this season.

Under the guidance of Tinkler, they are joint top of the Absa Premiership table and arrive at the historic contest full of confidence having won six matches in a row across all competitions.

“I’ve always believed that you have to make winning a habit, you have to become addicted to winning,” coach Tinkler said. “And that is why I also always tell the players that they cannot be complacent because a loss is just around the corner, that’s the harsh reality of the sport.

"The distance between complacency and consistency is marginal, which is why they have to always keep working hard.”

Their opponents Ea Lla Koto did win the same competition previously, but that was when they were still under the Qwa Stars banner and was way back in 1994. They were also runners-up two years later.

But their league form this season has been woeful. They are bottom of the table and are the only winless club in the league, despite axing former coach Denis Lavagne and replacing him with Giovanni Solinas.

"This season is very difficult but we need to improve and these players need to understand that this," the Italian, whose side ousted Kaizer Chiefs in the last eight, said.

Stars do have one thing in their favour - their opponents will be without two key defensive players in Robyn Johannes and Tshepo Gumede, who are suspended.

The second semi-final pits together two heavyweights of recent seasons.

Orlando Pirates know all about reaching the final of the competition and are bidding to get there for a ninth time. However, they have a woeful record in actual finals having won the title just once in 2011.

Matsatsantsa have a better conversion rate: winning one of the three finals they reached, the last of which was in 2014.

There is also extra spice to the meeting with SuperSport thrashing Pirates 6-1 the last time they met at the start of the month.

Stuart Baxter's men are without Onismor Bhasera due to suspension.

All four teams are trying to reach the December 10 final.

The Telkom Knockout semi-final fixtures are:

Saturday, November 26

Cape Town City v Free State Stars - Cape Town Stadium 15h00

SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates - Mbombela Stadium - 18h00