Downs refuse to let Ajax rain on their parade

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Castle Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns will embark on a victory parade through the streets of Pretoria and neighbouring townships today.

It will be a bitter-sweet occasion for the Brazilians after they surrendered the Absa Cup to Ajax Cape in Durban on Saturday.

They were crowned 2006-07 league champions two weeks ago after their game against Jomo Cosmos before a large crowd at Loftus.

Downs communications manager Alex Shakoane said it was important the champions shared this moment with those who stood by the team through thick and thin.

"We appeal to all our supporters to come and stand along the route that the bus will be taking," he said. We want to display the trophy to those areas that are our well-known strongholds. It is important for us to take the cup to the people.

"We are duty-bound to go out there and celebrate with them because they have been there week in and week out."

Shakoane also said the Chloorkop side wanted to make it clear that their loyalties lie with the City of Tshwane, and presenting the trophy to the mayor, Gwen Ramokgopa, was a promise fulfilled.

At the end of last season, Sundowns officials and players had pledged to Ramokgopa that they would do everything they could to ensure the trophy stayed in Tshwane.

Asked if the celebrations would not be tempered by the walloping the Brazilians received at the hands of Ajax, Shakoane was adamant that true fans of the clubs would not turn away from the club that easily.

But what could put a damper on festivities is uncertainly among die-hard Sundowns supporters who might have been unsettled by rumors linking coach Gordon Igesund with Premiership rivals Wits University.

Parade schedule:

l Mamelodi - 10. 30am;

l Hammanskraal - 11. 45am;

l Soshanguve or Mabopane - 1.15pm;

l Ramogodu - 2.15pm;

l GaRankuwa - 2.40pm;

l Atteridgeville - 3.15pm; and

l Church Square - 4pm.