Maritzburg United and Cape Town City share few things in common but they meet today fighting for a common goal.
The two sides are pitted against each other in an MTN 8 quarter-final at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg at 3pm, with a place in the semis at stake.
United, or Team of Choice, represent the masses in Maritzburg and City – are flying the flag for Cape Town.
Both teams boast young coaches who are former strikers. Benni McCarthy leads Cape Town City while Fadlu Davids is marshalling United.
They are both in their second seasons as the head coach and both reached finals but failed to lift the trophy in their debut season.
These two brands are growing thick and fast. The big question is how do they do it.
City chairman John Comitis offered some insight as to how he sold his brand to the people of Cape Town.
“We were very strategic when we formed this team, and named it after the city of Cape Town. We wanted people to identify our brand easily. The team is for the people of Cape Town and they can feel that. It is the same thing in England. Manchester United and Manchester City are named after their cities.”
The Citizens have reached two cup finals in their two years of existence. In their debut season they lifted the Telkom Knockout and finished third on the log which saw them book a place in the Caf Confederation Cup.
“People love to associate themselves with a winning brand which we are. So far we’ve had to decent season and we’re out to challenge on all fronts.”
City will be looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat against Baroka at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Limpopo. “We want people to take us seriously. Our social media platforms are active. We want to be regarded as a big club. Signing big name players is part and parcel of the brand. But they need to perform. We’ve got a nice mixture of youth and experience,” Comitis added.
United chairman Farook Kadodia didn’t want to go in to details about how he has built his brand. “It is a long story. You need to come and sit down with me then I will be able to tell you more about the club. Right now the focus is on our game against Cape Town City. We want our fans to come in their numbers.”
United are currently going through a barren run, and have lost both their opening matches this season – to Lamontville Golden Arrows and Baroka.
“We haven’t won this season but we are not panicking. We have to turn the corner against Cape Town City. It is going to be a very interesting encounter –one to savour,” Kadodia said.
United impressed last season as they finished fourth on the log and reached the final of the Nedbank Cup.