Chiefs and Pirates still committed
Chiefs and Pirates still committed

Posted in News on Nov 27, 2001.

Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are committed to honouring reciprocal 'healing' matches against Ghanaian sides Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak but the tight domestic programme is making this noble task virtually impossible.

The two South African sides pledged to feature against the Accra and Kumasi-based club and donate proceeds from the takings to organisations raising funds for families that lost their relatives during the soccer stampede that claimed the lives of 126 people back in April.

A Commission of Inquiry recommended that certain members of the police force be charged with culpable homicide for their failure to effective apply proper crowd control measures during the derby between the two top sides when more people than the stadium could hold, attended at Accra.

Ironically, two weeks prior to the tragedy in Ghana, 43 people had also died at the Ellis Park Stadium when a crowd of more than 80 000 descended on the Doornfontein stadium for a derby match between Chiefs and Pirates and PSL CEO Robin Petersen has since taken the blame for the loss of lives.

As a kind of "healing" process, Chiefs and Pirates invited Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko to take part in the Vodacom Challenge and promised to travel to Ghana for reciprocal matches.

But a successful run in the African Cup Winners Cup where they are tipped to win the competition named after former president Nelson Mandela after holding Angolan side Inter Club to a 1-1 draw in Luanda last week, has given Chiefs practically little time to squeeze in a friendly match.

"It is our aim and objective to honour the games in Ghana," said Chiefs general manager Bobby Motaung on Monday. "We are aware that the league championship has come to an end and Hearts of Oak are the new champions.

"However, our programme has been so tight as we have reached the finals of the BP Top Eight, Coca-Cola Cup and now will be contesting the finals of the Cup Winners Cup this weekend.

"We are still talking to our Ghanaian brothers to see when we can squeeze in these games and while they are flexible due to the fact that their programme has come to an end, we must find a suitable date to travel to Ghana.

"Frankly, looking at our own programme, it is not going to be an easy task but maybe we could find ourselves honouring the games during the festive period or perhaps during the African Nations Cup.

"Perhaps we will just have to wait until sometime shortly before the start of the World Cup 2002 finals in Japan and Korea. I've no idea at this stage but we will work something out, we will find a way to honour those games."

Chiefs defeated both Ghanaian teams during the Vodacom Challenge and after their splendid performance in the Cup Winners Cup, appear to hold far too many aces for the showdown against the Ghanaians in both Accra and Kumasi.

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