Drive to mobilise fans

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The Western Cape provincial government will use tomorrow night's Vodacom Challenge match against Tottenham Hotspur at Newlands Stadium to promote the Operation Buyela Ebaleni (Going back to the stadium) campaign.

Whitey Jacobs, Western Cape MEC for cultural affairs, sports and recreation, said the campaign is aimed at encouraging soccer lovers in the province to rather watch live soccer games.

"We are delighted to be hosting the Vodacom Challenge, which forms a critical part of our Buyela Ebaleni campaign, where we are mobilising and encouraging soccer lovers to attend live matches," said Jacobs.

"The tournament does not only allow us to host high-profile matches but is also an opportunity for the Western Cape, and Cape Town in particular as a host city for the 2010 World Cup, to showcase our passion for soccer."

Tomorrow's game will be the second big soccer event to be hosted by Cape Town after a good crowd turned out for last Wednesday's 90 Minutes for Mandela match featuring an Africa X1 and World X1, which ended in a 3-3 draw.

"We would like to see more and more international matches coming to Cape Town, which will also help in terms of the various development programmes leading up to the World Cup," said Jacobs.

Spurs started the 2007 edition of the Challenge with a 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs at King's Park Stadium in Durban on Saturday. The English side flew to the Mother City yesterday, where they were joined by Pirates.

Irvin Khoza, Pirates' chairman, who attended Saturday's opening game in Durban, said: "After our 2-1 victory over Hotspur in 2003, The Ghost can rest assured that the players will be keen to continue with this winning habit."

Khoza also urged South Africans to show their passion for soccer ahead of the 2010 World Cup by attending the Challenge games. The next match is Thursday night's (8.35pm) Soweto derby between Pirates and Chiefs at Port Elizabeth Stadium, with the winner facing Spurs in the final at Loftus Stadium at 3.15pm on Saturday.

The late Lesley "Slow Poison" Manyathela and Steve "Chippa" Lekoelea scored for Bucs in their memorable 2-1 win over Spurs in 2003, the last time these sides met.