Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer is keen for his first piece of silverware, a year since he arrived at the Soweto giants, while also ending their six-year trophy drought when they clash against Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
For his opposite number John Maduka, he would be out for his first career gold medal as a coach, five months into his spell as Celtic head coach following the departure of his then co-coach Lehlohonolo Seema.
Maduka will also be seeking to bury the agony of missing out on the Nedbank Cup following defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns in September’s final.
Losing another final in three months is something that Celtic would be eager to avoid as the team also wants to lift their first major trophy since 2012 when they claimed the Telkom Knockout.
They face a Pirates side that has also gone for a number of years without winning any Cup since bagging the 2014 Nedbank Cup.
|Game||Bloemfontein Celtic vs Orlando Pirates|
|Date||Saturday, December 12|
|Time||18:00 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
The game will be shown live on SuperSport TV and SABC.
|Online Streaming||TV Channel|
|DStv.com/DStv Now App||SuperSport's PSL channel 202, SABC 1|
Squads & Team News
After mentioning that the Caf Confederation Cup is not economically viable to them, Celtic have been fielding a second-string squad in continental competition.
In Africa, Maduka has been playing the likes of goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto, midfielder Shadrack Kobedi, Mokone Mereko, defender Mpusani Tani and Aviwe Nyamende all who are yet to make a single appearance in their Premier Soccer League (PSL) games this season.
This has seen season campaigners like captain Ndumiso Mabena, Justice Chabalala, Ronald Pfumbidzai, ex-Pirates goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane and Given Mashinkinya being rested.
They are likely to be fielded on Saturday and will take to the pitch with fresh legs with most of them having last been involved in competitive action two weeks ago when Celtic beat Black Leopards in a league match.
Earlier this week, Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer hinted at fielding utility player Thabiso Monyane who is returning from injury.
Monyane has played just one match this season and it would be interesting to see if Zinnbauer will hand minutes to someone coming from a long spell on the sidelines.
Bafana Bafana attacker Thembinkosi Lorch and defender Abel Mabaso are still out injured.
Striker Frank Mhango could start on Saturday after coming on as a substitute in Pirates’ last two games that marked his return from injury.
Congolese forward Jean-Marc Makusu who is yet to make his Pirates debut could provide a fresh dimension if he is allowed to play.
Pirates’ road to the MTN8 Cup final saw them edge Cape Town City in the quarter-finals.
This was followed by an emphatic 5-0 aggregate triumph over traditional rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-final after a 3-0 first-leg win and a 2-0 return leg victory.
Celtic have also been impressive in their path to the final especially after eliminating Mamelodi Sundowns in the last-eight.
Siwelele then knocked out defending champions SuperSport United in the semi-finals following a 1-1 away draw in the first leg, before a 1-0 win in the home leg.
It is six weeks since Celtic and Pirates last met in a competitive fixture when the Buccaneers beat the Free State side 1-0 in a PSL encounter at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium.
The last time the two sides met in a knockout competition was in the 2017 Nedbank Cup when Pirates eliminated Celtic at the quarter-finals stage following a 2-1 win.