MTN8 final: Interesting match facts

The football enthusiasts just can’t wait to witness the MTN8 final between Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu on Saturday. New history will be written, with Usuthu seeking their first MTN8 trophy, while the Buccaneers look for their fourth.

If Pirates win it, the sponsor will grant them the right to retain it for good, as they’re the most successful club since MTN took over the competition in 2008. But if AmaZulu triumph, the trophy will go back to the sponsor’s head office. Next season there will be a new-look trophy in the competition, MTN brand manager Nomsa Chabeli confirmed in the pre-match press conference.

Let’s take a look at the match facts:

• Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu are meeting for the first time in 28 years in the MTN8 final, and in the first cup final in 48 years.

• Their only previous meeting in the MTN8 competition, since the formation of the National Soccer League in 1985, came nine years later in 1994, when they clashed for the bronze medal. Pirates won 2-1, with Marks Maponyane and Helman Mkhalele getting their names on the scoresheet, while Richard Farrer netted for Usuthu.  

• The teams have never met in the final of the top eight competition before, but did clash in the deciders for the Life Challenge Cup (now Nedbank Cup), in both 1973 and 1974. Pirates won on both occasions, claiming 5-2 and 1-0 victories respectively.   

• The teams have clashed on 69 previous occasions in all competitions since 1985, with Pirates leading the head-to-head 32-11.  There have been 26 draws. The Buccaneers have managed 98 goals in that time to Usuthu’s 57. 

• Pirates are appearing in their second MTN8 final in three years, after defeating Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 in the 2020 decider. On that occasion, they had to come from behind, and secured a victory thanks to goals from Deon Hotto and Thembinkosi Lorch. 

• The Buccaneers have been to 16 finals in the top eight competition, winning 10 of those. This will be Pirates’ sixth final since MTN took over sponsorship of the competition in 2008, with no team having appeared in more, in that time. They have three wins (2010, 2011, 2020) and two defeats (2013, 2014).  

The match will be played in front of a sold-out crowd at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium at 18:00.

MTN8 trophy. Photo courtesy of MTN South Africa