Chiefs to prove a point in Charity Cup
Chiefs to prove a point in Charity Cup

Posted in News on Jul 21, 2002.

The loudest roar came from Black Leopards officials when the four teams for this year's Telkom Charity Cup were announced in Johannesburg on Monday.

The suspense was almost unbearable just before the fourth team was revealed. Not that the Leopards officials did not expect to be up there with the country’s top four clubs, but to be ahead of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is quiet an achievement.

Such numbers will not automatically fill the seats on the day of the event, though.

It appeared for a moment as though crowd-pullers Chiefs would miss, for the first time ever, the event. This would have presented the organisers with a challenge to fill Soccer City for the July 27 spectacle.

With Limpopo side Leopards first with 125 450 votes followed by Moroka Swallows with 109 878 and Orlando Pirates third with 102 870, competition for the last place was left between Chiefs, Ria Stars, who led the votes at some stages, and Sundowns.

It came as no surprise when Chiefs came out as the fourth team. Ria Stars came a distant fifth with 88 677 while Sundowns were sixth with 88 418 votes.

Leopards were then drawn against Swallows and Chiefs against arch-rivals Pirates. The cup committee briefly adjourned to decide which semifinal was to take place first at 09:30.

When the committee came back with a verdict – Leopards v Swallows at 09:30 - it was no surprise, because the organisers would have had serious logistical problems to accommodate the supporters from Chiefs and Pirates in an early kick-off.

The draw also meant no Chiefs vs Pirates final for the second year running.

Chiefs spokesperson Putco Mafani was not interested or bothered by the pre-tournament standings, which pitted his side - arguably the most popular team in the country - last. He was only happy that his side had made it through but questioned the effectiveness and legitimacy of the current voting system.

"The people have spoken," said Mafani. "Congratulations to Leopards, Swallows and Pirates for beating us on the phones, but that’s the mystery of the whole setup.

"At the end of the day what matters most is which teams will bring crowds to the Telkom spectacular. That is why it’s called a spectacular because you must have razzmatazz for the people to fill the stadium and make more money through gate takings on the day of the event.”

But voting results will be the last thing on Amakhosi’s minds when they tackle Pirates at 11:30. The Glamour Boys will be in revenge mode following their semifinal elimination from the tournament by Pirates.

The Sea Robbers, still on a high following their Vodacom Challenge play-off win against Asante Kotoko, will be out to make a successful Charity Cup title defence of the trophy they won last year.

Pirates spin doctor Thabiso Parkies declared the men in black and white ready to take on Amakhosi and promised the supporters a joyous afternoon.

"Expect fireworks,” declared a confident Parky. “We are defending champions and there’s a lot at stake. We wanted to have Chiefs in the Challenge but they eluded us. We are in a state of no compromise.”

Supporters can, however, expect a thriller while awaiting the biggest soccer clash in SA football when Leopards tackle Swallows in the first semifinal.

Leopards have a score to settle with the Dube Birds who have not only snatched their successful coach Gavin Hunt but were one of the few sides to beat the Limpopo side both at home and away in their league campaign last season.

"I am sure the players would want to prove a point or two to our former coach," said Chief Thidiela, Leopards PRO. “Swallows beat us 3-1 at home and away and now we have a point to prove. This is a bigger stage for us but we will take this opportunity and ensure that we come out tops.”

"Today it’s about charity and it doesn’t matter who play,” said Swallows PRO Godfrey Ggxowa, who appeared worried when Chiefs was mistakenly placed next to his side. “I was not worried. I was only trying to help but it would have been nice to test your strength against a tree that is solid with a strong foundation and fell that tree.”

Swallows, who lost the previous final to Pirates, will take the opportunity to showcase some of their new signings and introduce their new coach to the Birds supporters. Papi Mbele, who crossed the floor from Sundowns, Japheth Zwane from Manning Rangers and Zimbabwean Adam Ndlovu are some of the new faces to be paraded by Swallows.

Results of Votes:

Black Leopards - 135 450

Moroka Swallows - 109 878

Orlando Pirates - 102 870

Kaizer Chiefs - 101 743



Black Leopards vs Moroka Swallows : 09h30

Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates: 11h30

Final: 16h15

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