COMMENT: Benni McCarthy or Kaitano Tembo? Students of the game clash

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Goal looks at the battle between the coaches ahead of the eagerly anticipated MTN8 final

Benni McCarthy and Kaitano Tembo are two former players who have enjoyed largely successful playing careers.

However, both are still in their infancy in terms of coaching. This makes Saturday’s MTN8 final a whole lot more significant as the SuperSport United and Cape Town City mentors look to make a name for themselves.

Winning a trophy so early in one's coaching career could be a catalyst for greater success and both coaches look hungry.

McCarthy and his troops perhaps will be seen as favourites to an extent, considering that this will be their second bite at the proverbial cherry having previously suffered defeat to Matsatsantsa in last year’s final.

But while McCarthy may have been in the frontline the last time out, Tembo is certainly not short of experience. Not only has Tembo been in this place before as a player, but as a coach because he was also part of SuperSport’s success last season, albeit as an assistant coach.

This makes for an intriguing battle, and as McCarthy put it earlier in the week, it could once again be a game of fine margins.

SuperSport United v Cape Town City

Last year’s competition was decided on penalties with McCarthy watching on as his side suffered extreme heartbreak.

But he would have learnt from the defeat and certainly the Citizens' recent win over SuperSport in the league earlier in the season, will instil some confidence towards City’s ambitions.

Nonetheless, going into such a clash also comes down to the motivational element.

Granted that players don’t usually go into finals in need of much motivation but sometimes having a coach who understands the importance of winning could only add to the players’ desire to succeed.

And in the case of McCarthy and Tembo, there is no shortage of that success to look back on. McCarthy was a born winner in his playing days and until today, he remains one of the most respected footballers across the globe.

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Success on the biggest stage is what resonates with the younger players in particular, and hearing stories of McCarthy’s success could motivate City’s players to want to achieve greater things for the club and themselves personally.

On the other hand, Tembo is a rarity in South African football. The Zimbabwean is one of SuperSport’s longest serving members as he been there as both a player and a coach.

No one will know better than the 48-year-old what it means to don the famous blue jersey, and that passion and drive could hold SuperSport in good stead. 

Nevertheless, in spite of both coaches' history and ability, all indications do suggest a tightly fought contest and it will come as no surprise should the final be decided on penalties once again.

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