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The MTN 8 is a unique Cup format, not seen anywhere else in the world and is based on the performance of the Premier Soccer League the previous season.
The trophy is also the richest cup tourney in South Africa with R8 million prize money on offer for the winners.
Each of the 8 participants receive a guaranteed R800 000 grant but unless the win the prestigious trophy they will get no more funds.
The MTN 8 rewards teams for enjoying a decent run the previous season and kicks off the official new league.
The format is simple, the first placed side from the previous league plays the eighth placed side while the runners-up play the seventh place side do forth.
The cup is the easiest to win in that there are only three matches standing in the way of an early season trophy and 8 million bucks.
This MTN8 cup has been running since 1972, and provides fans with a trophy, a keen interest in league positions to qualify and is a benchmark of a good prior campaign.
The defending champions are SuperSport United and they will defend their title in the 2018/19 competition with a tough tie against second placed Orlando Pirates.
The tournament was renamed the MTN 8 exactly ten years back (2008) when the new sponsor came on board.
An anomaly over the past decade is the absence of Sundowns on the trophy’s name, with the perennial SA favourites not featuring.
This is an all-out cup competition and the likes of Sundowns are notoriously slow started to a new campaign as new players are often playing together as combinations for the first time.
Bidvest Wits won the 20016 edition scooping the double, after winning the league title later that campaign.
Kaizer Chiefs have won the most in this completion and the much decorated Glamour Boys have picked up 15 titles.
Chiefs dominate all cups in the country and it is no surprise they have picked up the title twice in the past decade, notably in 2015.
The second most wins belongs to Orlando Pirates, with the Buccaneers breezing to nine trophies.
The third most is a measly three and belongs to Swallows, a team relegated to the third tier of the league.
Sundowns, surprisingly, have only picked up the title 3 times in their history.
The tournament is a decent precursor to the season ahead as in 2014 Chiefs won this trophy and then the title, much like Wits in 2016. In the past four seasons the winners have twice gone on to lift the league title, meaning bookmakers and punters use this platform to gauge early season progress and set PSL odds accordingly.
There has been only two real surprise in the past dozen with Golden Arrows winning nine seasons back and Bloemfontein Celtic lifting the cup in 2005, to record only their second bit of silverware (the last being the then Mainstay Cup in 1985).
This best-of-the-best tourney provides supporters with an early bragging boost, or serves to put pressure on coaches at the big clubs, whose fans are used to winning (read, Chiefs, Sundowns, Pirates).
Sundowns will be out to arrest poor showings over the past decade and finally taste success again the in the tournament.
They will start as early season favourites to win this trophy, the league title and maybe another tilt at African glory.