Boost for local players

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

The first leg of the National First Division Platinum (NFD) playoffs between University of Pretoria and AmaZulu at Loftus in Pretoria on Wednesday will be historic.

Historic in that it will be watched by internationally-revered stars such as two-time world player of the year Ronaldinho, Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o and the World Cup winning defender Gianluca Zambrotta who play for Spain's giants Barcelona. The playoff kicks offs at 5.30pm.

Andrew Dipela, the Premier Soccer League's general manager, yesterday thanked Sundowns' management for allowing the two teams to raise the curtains for the Brazilians-Barca's clash that starts at 8.10pm.

"Obviously, we are excited that our match will be part of such a big clash and the players of the two teams should be motivated by the fact that they will be watched by world-class players," Dipela said.

"We are calling on all football-loving people of Pretoria and surrounding areas to come and enjoy football. It is not only about Sundowns vsBarcelona, but is also about AmaZulu v University of Pretoria," he said.

Usuthu are through to the final of the playoffs after beating pretenders FC AK 4-1 on aggregate.

AmaTuks, on the other hand, beat Winnesrpark on an away goal rule.

"AmaZulu are a very formidable side and we expect a very difficult match from them," Sammy Troughton, AmaTuks' coach, said yesterday.

The return match between the two sides takes place in KwaMashu on Sunday. AmaTuks are hoping to become the second team from the NFD to earn promotion to the elite league after Free State Stars won promotion to the Premiership.