Mamelodi Sundowns v Martizburg United

Mamelodi Sundowns and Maritzburg United kick-off their 2017/18 seasons with an MTN8 quarter-final meeting at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Sunday.

The hosts will be overwhelming favourites for the clash, particularly after strengthening their already solid squad over the winter.

The visitors, on the other hand, have lost one of their key midfielders after the departure of Kurt Lentjies, but they have invested wisely nonetheless.

The Brazilians also have the advantage of playing competitive football of the highest order during the off-season after they were involved in the CAF Champions League until as late as a month ago.

However, United coach Fadlu Davids, who was promoted from interim coach to permanent boss in June, believes fatigue could play a role for the Chloorkop side.

“They’ve been playing while everyone else has been away on holiday, so there’s no doubt they’re in rhythm,” he said. “But on the flip side, they may not have the freshness that we have.

“We might not be in the groove as yet, but we will be fresher and hopefully we can capitalise on that.”

Sundowns broke the hearts of Sowetans in the past few weeks by signing Oupa Manyisa from Orlando Pirates and George Lebese from Kaizer Chiefs, although it is unlikely that both will feature.

For the visitors, Mondli Dlamini is out after fracturing his leg in pre-season, while key defenders Brian Onyango and Siyanda Xulu are likely to miss out – the former due to visa issues and the latter after only joining last week. But new Ghana international goalkeeper Richard Ofori is pushing for a debut.

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