Cape Town - The high-profiled pre-season Vodacom Challenge, which has featured glamour teams of the calibre of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, will be back in harness this year after an absence in 2010 because of the Soccer World Cup.
This was confirmed on Saturday by PSL and Orlando Pirates chairperson Irvin Khoza in spite of the shock announcement this week that the traditional Telkom Charity Cup event had been aborted to ease the various pressures of fixture congestion.
"The Vodacom Challenge," said Khoza, "is not an official PSL event and is organised by Vodacom in their role as sponsors of Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, who use the tournament as part of their pre-season preparation."
Khoza said that apart from the inclusion of Chiefs and Pirates, there was no finality yet which other teams would compete and what the exact format of the event might be – but it would be staged in July before the reorganised official start of the PSL season with the MTN8 competition.
Despite the PSL not being directly involved in the running of the Vodacom Challenge, many have suggested there is an anomaly in the tournament being staged while the Telkom Charity event, which has contributed millions to charity, has been abandoned.
The three-match Charity tournament, which was first staged in the mid-1980s as the brainchild of controversial former PSL innovator Abdul Bhamjee, was completed on a single action-packed day and required two of the four competing teams to participate in a second game for the title.
And while it adopted a flawed public voting system in deciding which teams participated. the view has been expressed that a revision of the tournament's format rather than its abandonment should have been considered.
Khoza, however, has given the assurance that the PSL remained committed to aiding charities in a manner still to be disclosed, but to the same extent as in the past.