MTN8: Past winners, unforgettable moments

As we head into Saturday evening's MTN8 showdown between Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns, relives some of the competition’s most memorable moments from over the years.

This year was the ninth edition of the MTN8, whose participants qualify by finishing amongst the top eight best teams in the Absa Premiership in the previous campaign.

The winners of the inaugural MTN8 were Kaizer Chiefs, who won the competition in 2008. Two teams, Orlando Pirates and Chiefs, have the won the MTN8 trophy twice.

The 2015 champions were Ajax Cape Town, Nathan Paulse scoring the only goal, 10 minutes into the second half, of a tightly-contested affair at a packed Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The previous final, in 2014, also saw Chiefs involved, and was also settled by a single goal. But on this occasion, Amakhosi had triumphed, Tefu Mashamaite's 28th minute goal ensuring the R8 million prize after a 1-0 victory over Soweto rivals Pirates.

The Buccaneers had also lost out to Platinum Stars on a penalty shoot-out in the 2013 final after the game had ended 1-1, the goals coming from Robert Ng’ambi before Thabo Matlaba got a late equaliser to send the match into extra time. Siphelele Mthmbu, now at Chiefs, and Robert Ng’ambi were key for Dikwena during their winning campaign, both players scoring three goals from open play during the competition.

The 2012 MTN8 trophy went the way of Moroka Swallows, who beat SuperSport United 2-1 in a tightly contested final. Bennett Chenene was the hero of the hour, a cool and composed lobbed finish over the head of Rowen Fernandez securing an 86th minute winner at the Orlando Stadium after Georgi Nergadze had cancelled out Franklin Cale’s early strike.

A year before that, in 2011, it had been Oupa Manyisa who had written himself into Orlando Pirates folklore, slamming home a long range shot which skidded off the turf before beating Itumeleng Khune to secure a 107th minute winner against Kaizer Chiefs, Bucs’ first major cup final victory over AmaKhosi since 1988.

Manyisa had also been the man-of-the moment in the second leg of the semi-final clash with Mamelodi Sundowns, having scored a spectacular goal to help Pirates to win the second leg and the tie on the away goals rule after Elias Pelembe had scored with 20 minutes to go. It had been a moment of sheer brilliance from Manyisa after he controlled a clearance from a corner-kick 40 metres out and proceeded to send a sensational long-range rocket beyond the reach of a flabbergasted Wayne Sandilands.

The 2010 edition of the MTN8, was a tightly-contested one throughout. The semi-finals saw Orlando Pirates edging out Chiefs 2-1 (1-1 and 1-0), while Moroka Swallows overcame Ajax Cape by scores of 0-0 and 3-2.

The final saw Bucs dominating the Birds for most of the game, but failing to put the match to bed as Morgan Shivambu’s late goal cancelled out Daine Klate’s 19th minute penalty, resulting in the game going to penalties which Pirates won 4-2.

In 2009 it had been Golden Arrows’ year as they overcame AmaZulu and Free State Stars to reach the final at the Orlando Stadium, where a glorious 90 minutes ended in a 6-0 annihilation of Ajax Cape Town.

The final may have been a one-sided affair, but in terms of entertainment, Ajax’s 3-3 second leg draw with Kaizer Chiefs stood out as the game of the tournament. (The Urban Warriors going through on an aggregate score of 4-3).

Indeed, the six goal thriller can be counted as one of the best games since the inauguration of the MTN8 back in 2008. The 3-3 at a packed Orlando Stadium had been a classic cup encounter, Brett Evans’ stunning free kick setting the tempo in the 11th minute. The match seesawed backwards and forwards before Franklin Cale’s 84th minute goal finally settled the outcome.

The first ever MTN8 final, the 2008 edition between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns was a nail-biting one, despite the 0-0 score line after 120 minutes. Normal time saw the Brazilians failing to capitalise on their chances, enabling the AmaKhosi to triumph in the penalty shootout after Esrom Nyandoro and Thando Mngomeni missed their spot kicks.

Downs had earlier booked their place in the final in dramatic style as Lerato Chabangu’s 118th minute goal saw the Chloorkop side victorious on the away goals rule after their two-legged semi-final with SuperSport United ended 4-4 on aggregate. Chiefs’ path to the final meanwhile had been paved by the inspirational form of Gert Schalkwyk, who netted three times.