THIS weekend of 20 July 2019 will see the much-anticipated inaugural Msunduzi Cup at Harry Gwala Stadium. Local football fans will be given a glimpse of what to expect next season from three KwaZulu-Natal clubs, namely AmaZulu, Lamontville Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United as well as the Johannesburg powerhouse Bidvest Wits.
There are just a couple of weeks to go before the official start of the 2019/20 PSL season, with pre-season preparations in full swing. It is also the time when new players are signed, and as such, fans in attendance at the Harry Gwala Stadium will get a first look at some of their club’s exciting latest additions in action.
Lebogang Mokoena, Chief Director of the Mkoena Group, organisers of this tournament, said they decided to organize this spectacle because of the love of football they saw from Maritzburg United fans when they attended its Premier Soccer League matches.
He said: “Most provinces in the country have pre-season events such as these and we felt that there was an opportunity to get KwaZulu-Natal involved more especially in Pietermaritzburg. After all, it is one of the hotbeds of football talent in South Africa and we have no doubt this tournament will be a success”.
This is the first ever KZN pre-season tournament to feature exclusively Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs. Mokoena said they plan to make this an annual event, with next year set to feature three PSL teams and one Invitational team made of local players scouted all around Msunduzi region. It will potentially be utilised as a platform for young up and coming footballers from the local region to make a name for themselves.
The tournament is expected to draw a full capacity crowd of 12000. “The good thing is that the tickets which are R80 for adults and R40 for kids are selling like hotcakes at Computicket. It will be a family day, we will be having a jumping castle for kids,” said Mokoena.
Fans can expect a lot of entertainment from the likes of Sphectacula and Dj Naves, Dj Thanda, Dj Chofy and Tribe of Africa.
Mokoena said they were grateful for the support they received from Msunduzi Municipality in terms of facilities (Harry Gwala Stadium), BMW Supertech Pietermaritzburg for providing them with cars for roadshows to market this event, Hollywoodbets for providing water amongst other things and KZN Department of Sport and Recreation for paying the appearance fees of the clubs.
He declined to disclose how much appearance fee has been paid to each team. Thulani Ntombela from BMW Supertech said, “We decided to get involved because we love our city and fans are our customers, it’s a better way to advertise our brand.”
Maritzburg United Chief Executive Officer Younus Kadodia said they are pleased to take part in the pre-season tournament on home soil, “Historically we used to go out of the province and prepare for pre-season, but this is a great initiative for KZN. Since it will be hosted in Harry Gwala stadium, there’s extra pressure on us to keep the trophy here, but that’s exactly what we plan to do.”
The first semi-final will feature Maritzburg United against AmaZulu at 10am and the second semi-final will feature Golden Arrows against Bidvest Wits at 12am with the final scheduled for 17h00. The gate open at 8am.