TELKOM Knockout holders Cape Town City FC face a tricky opening hurdle when they play current Absa Premiership pacesetters Baroka FC as they begin the defence of their title in Limpopo at the end of the month.
City, now coached by former Bafana Bafana star Benni McCarthy, travel to the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday 29 October for their showdown with the surprise package of the season.
Bakgaga have been a team that has risen from the dead – they have been the most improved side so far and are in dazzling form after escaping the relegation axe by the skin of their teeth last season.
McCarthy will be out to make amends after City were beaten by SuperSport United on penalties in last weekend’s MTN8 final. He will also be smarting from the 1-0 defeat that Bloemfontein Celtic inflicted on them in an Absa Premiership fixture at home on Tuesday.
City beat Matsatsantsa a Pitori in last year’s Knockout final. United got their revenge by lifting the MTN8 trophy under former City head coach Eric Tinkler, who left the Citizens at the start of the season to take charge of United.
Tinkler’s side, who travel to Tunisia this morning to play Club Africain in their Caf Confederation Cup semifinal, second leg at the weekend, also have a tricky assignment against much improved Celtic at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Saturday 28 October.
Orlando Pirates, who have shown signs of getting back to their best under new head coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic, have a tough away trip to Durban on 28 October. They play Golden Arrows, another side showing vast improvement, at Princess Magogo Stadium.
Kaizer Chiefs, who have won the Knockout twice in its current format, play AmaZulu at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on the same day.