Showcase tournament

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Five days before the prestigious Telkom Charity Cup is staged, the Mangaung Local Municipality will host a one-day four-team event at Free State Stadium on July 29.

The tournament, which will be played for the first time, will be called the Old Mutual Mangaung Cup and will pit four of the country's Premiership sides against each other.

The teams are Bloemfontein Celtic, Moroka Swallows, Free State Stars and Ajax Cape Town.

The tournament will also showcase talent that will be displayed by 38 teams that will contest the schools challenge that will be part of the festival.

The Mangaung Cup will be played on a knockout basis and kicks off with 38 schools from Free State tomorrow. The two schools that reach the final will play as curtainraisers to the main tournament.

The tournament is being described as an ideal warm-up to the 2007/08 season, which kicks off two weeks after the tournament.

"We've invited these four teams because they not only represent some of the top talent in the PSL, but also because the players and management have committed themselves to giving back to the community in Bloemfontein by taking part in training clinics before the event," Old Mutual sponsorship manager Tony Lankester said.

"Our sponsorship philosophy is to invest in success - and this tournament does that by not only giving the fans a new competition to get their teeth into, but also filter down some skills and training to tomorrow's superstars."

All the games that make up the Old Mutual Mangaung Cup will be televised live on Supersport from 8.30am.

"We hope this will become a yearly event and that it will become a highlight on the pre-season calendar," Lankester said.

"It's a great opportunity for the players to stretch their legs before the Castle Premiership league starts and for fans to catch a glimpse of what their favourite teams have in store for them."

The Old Mutual Mangaung Schools Challenge quarterfinals will be played in Thaba Nchu and the semifinals at Botshabelo on July 25.