Tashreeq Vardien

Dear PSL: Why does Cape Town Stadium get no love?

2017-06-23 12:26
Tashreeq Vardien (File)

Cape Town - The atmosphere is just different on a cup final match day. There is simply no better feeling for a spectator, especially when it is in your own backyard.

I have experienced that feeling a few times at rugby: the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship which South Africa won - Handre Pollard was exceptional with the boot that evening.

And two years later at the same venue (Newlands) Western Province's 2014 Currie Cup final victory against the Lions.

The whole experience is euphoric. The scent of freshly cut grass, the echoing of the car hooters down Main Road due to heavy traffic and my favourite, grabbing a pre-game boerewors roll.

But that is rugby I guess.

However, my real qualm is with soccer and the Premier Soccer League!

So, let me dive straight into it...

Why has the Cape Town Stadium never played host to an official PSL competition final before?

This I ask as, ironically, the Nedbank Cup final takes place on Saturday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The Nedbank Cup is one of three official PSL competitions for South African Premiership clubs to gun for - with the other two being the MTN8 Cup and Telkom Knockout.

It will be the eighth time Moses Mabhida, a stadium that was built for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, will host a cup final in the last seven years.

Along with Moses Mabhida and the Cape Town Stadium, there were eight other stadiums that were revamped and constructed, namely Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Mbombela Stadium, Ellis Park Stadium, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Free State Stadium, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, New Peter Mokaba Stadium and FNB Stadium in order for South Africa to host football’s grandest spectacle.

FNB Stadium, aka Soccer City, has rolled out the red carpet to three finals: the Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup in 2010 and the MTN8 the following year.

The 40 000 seater capacity of the Mbombela Stadium held the 2011 edition of the Nedbank Cup final while in 2013 and 2016 it hosted the final for the Telkom Knockout and MTN8, respectively.

More recently, Port Elizabeth fans were given the opportunity to witness two Cup finals in a single year at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup in 2015.

The new Peter Mokaba Stadium enjoyed to two finals last year, the Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup.

Surely the Cape Town Stadium is on the horizon as being part of this list?

While the stadium was built for football matches in the Mother City, it has been largely used for Absa Premiership matches, major concerts and more recently, the venue for the South African leg of World Rugby Sevens Series.

The lack of football being played at the venue has led to the proposal of Western Province/Stormers calling it “home”, but the Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU) has rejected a move on several occasions, opting to remain at Newlands.

Last season, Kaizer Chiefs played three PSL matches at the Cape Town Stadium in a home-away-from-home campaign, which turned out to be a huge success.

I do know, and I hear you thinking out loud, Amakhosi will always lure fans to the stadium - it's a given.

Cape Town on the other hand - home of Cape Town City FC and Ajax Cape Town - can barely draw any fans to their matches, so how is the PSL going to make football fans fill up a 68 000 seater for a final?

You know how? By just trying.

Give Cape Town a chance and we will surprise you.

The venue for a cup final is only decided once the final two teams have made their way through to the final in order for the league to choose a neutral ground.

But something tells me there is something fishy going on.

If not, I’m just a football fan yearning for a cup final experience in my own backyard...

Tashreeq Vardien works at Sport24 and is a paper basketball dustbin champion... Follow Tashreeq on Twitter.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    cape town stadium  |  psl  |  soccer


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