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WHILE Telkom's sponsorship of the Charity Cup officially ended last season, its 10th anniversary as the traditional season-opener this year was celebrated with the announcement of a further three-year extension.
The one-day, four-team competition, which started as the Iwisa Spectacular in 1986, is also due to be played where it all started, at Ellis Park Stadium. It will be played on Saturday, August 1.
Telkom came to the party in 2000 and "with South Africa having just hosted an exhilarating Confederations Cup and with kickoff to 2010 on the horizon, we could not walk away from our involvement in the Charity Cup. We need to continue to nurture the talent that could bring home soccer's global showpiece, while also contributing to the needy and destitute," said Telkom managing director Nombulelo Moholi yesterday.
This year's version was launched amid excitement as Premier Soccer League clubs looked forward to garnering the votes that will enable them to take part in the day-long soccer festival.
Football supporters have been urged to vote for their teams as many times as they please with voting closing at midnight on Sunday, July 26.
Since 2000, more than 500 charitable organisations have benefited from funds raised in this event. In its entire 24-year history the charity event has distributed more than R36million to needy causes. This year it is hoped R5million will be raised to surpass last year's R4,6million.
Orlando Pirates are the defending champions and spokesperson Mickey Modisane was quick to call on The Ghost to make sure the team is there on the day.
"But before that, they must vote and put bums on the seats. The event is going back home to the House of Pain and we call on our supporters to vote in large numbers," Modisane said.
Not to be outdone was Daniel "Mambush" Mudau of Sundowns, who also encouraged AmaSandawana to vote as "we should make sure the children and the needy benefit big-time from it".
Andrew "Jaws" Rabutla said Ezenkosi would also work hard to mobilise supporters to vote so that they can see the new-look Cosmos side.
Football fans will also stand a chance of winning two daily cash prizes of R500 or a grand prize of R10000 and Telkom Charity Cup memorabilia.