Durban to host MTN8 final
Durban - The Premier Soccer League (PSL) on Wednesday named Moses Mabhida Stadium as the venue for the September 28 MTN8 final, in an unusual move announcing the venue before the semi-finals have been completed.
The winner of semi-final between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, to be played on September 24, was drawn as the home side for the Durban match.
“The venue is chosen by the organising committee but we do have to consult with them,” said Derek Blanckensee PSL general manager.
“One of the issues we deal with is neutrality, which basically rules out home venue for both sides in final.”
The winner of the Platinum Stars and Bidvest Wits semi-final would be listed as the away team for the final.
Pirates media manager Mickey Modisane backed the decision of the PSL to select a venue ahead of time.
“What I like about this decision is it eliminates all the bickering and unfairness people bring up," Modisane said.
"People used to ask why the venue was only selected at such short notice in the past.”
Pirates, meanwhile, faced the challenge of hosting a Soweto derby cup match against Chiefs at the 35 000 capacity Orlando Stadium. The logistics for such a popular fixture could pose problems for stadium management and the PSL.
“This game is on the 24th and it's a public holiday - Heritage Day - and we will only be selling 28 000 tickets for the match,” said Modisane.
“It's in line with recommendations after the Ellis Park disaster and 10 percent of the stadium needed to remain empty to allow for movement.”
In 2001, 43 fans were crushed to death in a stampede during a Chiefs and Pirates match at Ellis Park.
Modisane said the forthcoming fixture should not pose any security risks.
“The security elements in this one are going to be extremely high.
“Acts of hooliganism are going to be dealt with harshly. We say to the supporters 'if you don't have a ticket, stay at home'.
"At Orlando Stadium, the capacity is small but we had to take the match back to Orlando, which is the spiritual home of Pirates.”
With four days between the semi-final second leg and the final, Modisane said the biggest challenge for Pirates would be a mental one.
“We have a good tempo as club and our pre-season started quite early.
“We played Champions League so long ago (in July) so we've been having competitive matches for ages.
“After going through the semi-final, we need to make sure our players stay focused to go the final and be able to lift the trophy. We're excited there's not too much time between the semi-final and the final.”
Pirates hold a 1-0 advantage after the first leg, while Wits will have to overcome a 4-2 deficit.
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