FORGET the hyped up pre-season tournaments, forget off-season transfer speculation.
The real football business starts this weekend with a feast of MTN8 Cup quarterfinal matches.
Wafa Wafa cup holders Bidvest Wits kick off the season-opening competition with a home clash against Golden Arrows at Milpark Stadium tonight (8pm).
Many though will be keen to see Benni McCarthy take his first steps into coaching when Cape Town City take on Polokwane City at Cape City Stadium tomorrow (3pm).
But the pick of the last eight fixtures is undoubtedly the crunch match between Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United taking place at Moses Mabhida Stadium tomorrow night (8.15pm).
According to United skipper Dean Furman, coach Eric Tinkler has thrown down the gauntlet, telling them they can reach two semifinals within five games, including the Caf Confederation Cup.
“Yes, we are eager to impress him. But against Chiefs we will be up against it with their massive support.
“We know what to expect in terms of the atmosphere in the stadium. But we thrive in such environments. We faced Chiefs three times last time and all the matches ended in draws, going through on penalties in the Nedbank Cup.
“These are two sides that are similarly matched, two teams with aspirations and desperate to progress in this tournament.
“There is no better way to play Chiefs than in front of a packed crowd. In Durban we are going to the ground which hold good memories for us.”
The word pressure has been synonymous with Amakhosi following a two-year barren run adding to the weight of expectations from the fans as they go into the upcoming season.
Captain Itumeleng Khune admitted it was a “shame” that a club steeped in a rich history of knockout cup success has gone two seasons without major silverware.
It is sentiments often shared by his coach Steve Komphela, but words are no longer enough.
Results on the pitch will do the talking.
“It’s not only the coach under pressure. He can only do so much,” said Khune.
“He plans very well, but it’s up to us to go and execute the plan on the pitch. We can match SuperSport United. We just need to be hungrier on the day.”