Excitement over Premier's Cup
Premier Soccer League (File)
Johannesburg - Absa Premier League clubs Golden Arrows, AmaZulu and Maritzburg United will be joined by First Division outfit Thanda Royal Zulu for the Premier's Cup, a one-day event to be played at the King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium on July 31.
Entrance for fans is free as the clubs look to attract more lucrative crowds usually associated with their counterparts in Gauteng.
KwaZulu Natal's MEC for Art, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Weziwe Thusi, is hoping the launch of the pre-season tournament will help improve relations between government and the sport in the province.
There will be no prizemoney for the winner due to the lack of sponsorship, but each team will be given a nominal appearance fee of R300 000.
One of the objectives for the organisers is to create a pre-season tournament similar to the Vodacom Challenge and Premier's Cup in the Free State.
"There is no doubt that the people in Kwa-Zulu Natal, especially eThekwini and surrounding areas, will support the tournament in their numbers because we all have experienced football drought during the recess," Thusi said at the launch on Tuesday.
"Major tournaments currently under way such as the Vodacom Cup and the Carling Cup have also snubbed our province and the Premier's Cup will close that gap."
Other key areas that Thusi said the deal will benefit, include relations between football and provincial government as well as getting the clubs more involved in the sport's development in rural areas.
Arrow chairman Mato Madlala hailed the new tournament, saying she hoped it would help with improving the way the game was run in the province.
"We really need to work together with everyone, so a big thank you to the MEC. We hope it's the start of good things to come, the start of improving the game here and to improve the crowd numbers we have been getting.
Clubs countrywide are currently preparing for the 2011/2012 season, which begins with the MTN8 on August 5.
However, none of the KZN teams are involved after a poor a league campaign last season, which saw all three top tier teams end in the bottom half of the table.