Absa Premiership

TKO final venue - a walk on the wild side

2017-12-05 13:57
Bidvest Wits, the 2017 Telkom Knockout champions (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - One prominent soccer official suggested the decision to play last Saturday's Telkom Knockout final in which Bidvest Wits barely shaded Bloemfontein Celtic at the modest Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu as having taken the Absa Premiership back 20 years.

And what might be termed as "a walk on the wild side" was not only a surprise for almost every soccer fan in the country, but in the year 2017 was quite inappropriate for a major South African soccer final.

And even after the event has taken place the view that staging the Telkom Knockout final at an out-of-the-way venue with inadequate seating and a below-par surface has not been diluted.

Asked for his view on the Princess Magogo decision, Wits’ straight-talking coach, Gavin Hunt, was almost speechless, while giving the impression you could have knocked him over with a feather.

So the question must be posed: Who was it who came up with this clanger - and why?

And, in spite of the fact that acting Absa Premiership CEO, Mato Madlala, has insisted that such decisions are taken by the executive headed by chairperson Irvin Khoza, a finger has been pointed in her direction by virtue of her position as owner and chairperson of KwaZulu-based Golden Arrows.

What is more, the question has now been raised why Madlala remains Absa Premiership CEO after two years when her appointment was only designated to be on a temporary, acting basis because of the obvious conflicts of interest resulting from her Arrows connections.

And, intriguingly, one Absa Premiership executive member said he had played no part in the Princess Magogo decision, heightening the suggestion the Absa Premiership is being run increasingly on an autocratic basis.

"Why take a final to Princess Magogo Stadium when there are so many modern stadiums throughout the country," he questioned. "I shudder to think how the decision was received by the sponsors."

Hopefully this was only a momentary apparition - and not a signpost as to how the Absa Premiership is now running professional soccer in the country.

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Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Free State Stars v SuperSport United, Goble Park 19:30
Mamelodi Sundowns v Maritzburg United, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 19:30
Friday, 15 December 2017
Cape Town City FC v AmaZulu FC, Cape Town Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Mamelodi Sundowns v Bloemfontein Celtic, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 15:30
Chippa United v Polokwane City, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 15:30
Free State Stars v Orlando Pirates, Goble Park 18:00
Wits v Platinum Stars, Bidvest Stadium 20:15
Kaizer Chiefs v Ajax Cape Town, Moses Mabhida Stadium 20:15
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