MTN8 champs Wits take aim at Arrows

MTN8 champs Wits take aim at Arrows
Buhle Mkhwanazi of Bidvest Wits challenges Marshall Munetsi of Baroka FC during the Absa Premiership match between Bidvest Wits and Baroka FC on the 22 February 2017 at Bidvest Wits Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Aug 10, 2017. 09:30

Bidvest Wits will look to defend their MTN8 title and face a quarterfinal clash against Golden Arrows at Bidvest Stadium on 11 August 2017, kick-off at 20h00.

Wits enjoyed a fantastic 2016/17 season: not only did they win their first league title by finishing atop the Absa Premiership, but they also claimed the MTN8 title by overpowering Mamelodi Sundowns in the final.

The Clever Boys’ other cup showings were not quite so successful, as they exited the Telkom Knockout at the last 16 stage after losing to Free State Stars, while in the Nedbank Cup they were eliminated in the second round (on penalties) by lower league Jomo Cosmos.

Wits’ triumph in last year’s MTN8 was their third Top Eight title, adding to trophies won in 1984 and 1995.

Golden Arrows exceeded expectations in the PSL by finishing in eighth place, keeping themselves above big names like Platinum Stars, Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates.

In cup competitions, Abafana Bes’thende disappointed by exiting the Telkom Knockout in the first round, but in the Nedbank Cup they got as far as the semifinals and were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Orlando Pirates, having beaten three top flight sides en-route to the last four.

Arrows will make a return to the MTN8 for the first time since they famously won the trophy for the first time back in 2009, memorably crushing Ajax Cape Town 6-0 in the final.

Wits and Arrows have met in just one previous cup match, a last 16 clash in the 2013 Telkom Knockout which saw the Durban side claim a thrilling 3-2 victory. This was also Abafana Bes’thende’s last win over Wits.

Overall, the teams have clashed in 29 matches across all competitions since 2001/02. The Johannesburg side has claimed 17 wins compared to five for their counterparts from Durban. Last season the Clever Boys held the KZN club 0-0 in Durban and won the return game in Johannesburg 3-0.

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