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Supa 8 Weekend Ahead! 08/08/03
The first major tournament on the South African soccer calendar gets underway this weekend when the SAA Supa 8 competition kicks off.

The first major tournament on the South African soccer calendar gets underway this weekend when the SAA Supa 8 competition kicks off.

There are two games being played this weekend, with Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions Orlando Pirates facing Jomo Cosmos on Saturday, while Wits University host Kazer Chiefs on Sunday.

SASoccer365 will be having an in depth look at this weekends matches - starting today with The Pirates vs Cosmos clash, and then tomorrow we will preview the match between Wits and Chiefs...

Orlando Pirates vs Jomo Cosmos (3pm, Saturday 9 August - Rand Stadium)

The first match of the competition promises to be a mouth-watering affair between Pirates and Cosmos, who are the current holders of the Coca Cola cup.

If one were to go according to the form book then the Buccaneers would definitely be overwhelming favourites to win this encounter.

Although the Soweto giants have lost their influential captain Mbulelo Mabizela to Premiership team Tottenham Hotspur, they have more than adequately made up for this loss with a number of high profile signings.

In defence they have secured the services of Mabizela's former teammate at Maritzburg City, Edward Malinga, as well as international players Muamba Felix Musasa (DRC) and Avery John (Trinidad and Tobago).

They have also bolstered their midfield with exciting young winger Patrick Thwala from Santos, as well as playmaker Daniel "Sailor" Tshabala from Silver Stars.

Added to this is the availability of talismatic midfielder Bennedict "Tso" Vilakazi, who spent large parts of last season out injured.

The striking department is one area where Bucs could be found wanting if Lesley Manyathela departs the club. But for the moment last season's PSL's leading goalscorer is still part of the Pirates setup and coach Roy Baretto will be expecting the young striker to continue doing what he knows best- putting the ball in the back of the oppositions net.

So although on paper Bucs clearly look the favourites, one can never discount the wily Jomo Sono and his tough tackling Cosmos players.

The "Black Prince" has been up to his usual tricks in the media, having recently expressing his admiration for the Buccaneers squad, quite possibly in an attempt to lure the Pirates players into a false sense of security and a feeling of over-confidence.

Although Sono has not made any major additions to his team, he has been going about his business quietly and efficiently, having added players such as David Mabeta (Santos), Kenny Niemach (Chiefs), Lefa Tsutsulupa (Bloemfontein Celtic) and Peter Mgangira (Malawi) to his squad.

He also still has the services of top striker Russell Mwafulirwa, who failed to sign a contract with French side St Etienne.

Sono has a knack of discovering and bringing the best out of little known players, so Pirates would do well to be wary of some of his latest signings, particularly Peter Mgangira of Malawi, of whom big things are predicted.

The Cosmos boss has instilled a no-nonsense approach in his players, and Pirates can expect no favours from the Ezenkhosi team, who will come at them with all guns blazing.

Pirates should just edge this one, especially if Manyathela is playing, although the Buccaneers can expect a tough game and will have to be at their best on the day.

SASoccer365 prediction : Orlando Pirates 2 - 1 Jomo Cosmos

Do You Agree With Our Prediction?
Tickets for all the matches including the semi-finals and finals are available for purchase at Computicket. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the stadium on match days.

SAA has something special planned for soccer's biggest fans that are the fist to arrive at this weekends matches. The first 2000 to arrive at the games will receive a horn or "Vuvuzela", a fitting accessory for the country's best-loved game.

The airline is pulling out all stops for soccer lovers, providing entertainment by acclaimed South African musician, Mdu Masilela and his crew.

Players also have something to look forward to including the two awards from SAA. The Ndizani Award will be given to the goal keeper or player who performs a brilliant airborne ball save or a goal celebration relevant to the theme of flying. This lucky player will receive two economy class tickets to be used on any domestic route served by SAA.

The player honoured as Man of The Match voted by the public will receive two Business Class tickets on a domestic route.

SAA has been going all out to ensure that the competition received the full amount of glamour and status it deserves, and soccer fans in this country will soon become accustomed to their new catch-phrase: "Life will be a little different now that the SAA Supa 8 is here. O a tseba. It is the people's game," the SAA SUPA 8 is here!

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