Thursday, August 2, 2007
We all know the World Cup is coming to South Africa in 2010.
What we don't talk much about is the South African domestic game.
The South African season opens on August 4th with the Charity Cup, an exhausting four-team event that traditionally attracts crowds over 70,000.
Four clubs, voted for in a month-long telephone poll, will compete in two morning semi-finals with the winners given just a short break before returning for the final, later the same day. Talk about a double dip.
The country's two most popular teams, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, have been drawn against each other a week after they clashed in a pre-season tournament won by English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.
Saturday's opening match pits Bloemfontein Celtic against Silver Stars, last year's league runners-up.
Usually 75,000 fans pack into Johannesburg's Soccer City for the tournament but that stadium is undergoing a major overhaul ahead of the 2010 World Cup finals. The tourney has been moved to Mmabatho, a town near the Botswana border whose stadium has a capacity of 59,000.
Pretoria-based Mamelodi Sundowns were one of the original four teams picked for the tournament.
The reigning South African champions were voted in second place but due to a clash with their commitments in the Confederation Cup were unable to compete in the tie.