Bad omen leads to Macufe flop

Thabo Johnson

The disappointing attendance at the Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Macufe) tournament on Sunday was not surprising considering the bad omens that have been hanging over the yearly tournament for some time.

A mere 8000 or so spectators showed up, unlike the past four years when crowds filled the 38000-seater Free State Stadium to capacity.

Moroka Swallows, Jomo Cosmos, Free State Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic took part in the event.

Ill winds started blowing a month ahead of the staging of this once popular event.

Former organiser Ben Moseme, trading as Consumer Connectedness, filed an interdict against the Free State department of tourism, environmental and economic affairs arguing that the tournament, which started in 2003, was "his" concept.

The matter was heard in the Bloemfontein high court where Moseme's legal team lost the case and he was ordered to bear the costs.

Moseme applied for an interdict after this year's organisers, Bashumi ba Africa Consortium, were awarded a tender to stage the event.

Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates made matters worse when they puled out just days before the soccer tournament took place.

The Soweto giants' shocking withdrawal jeopardised the organisers chances of staging a memorable festival in it's 10th year.

The two camps cited "tight schedules" as the key reason.

But Sowetan learnt that disagreement over the appearance fee was the main factor.

Cosmos and Swallows came on board as late replacements.

This was a last-ditch effort by Bashumi ba Africa to avoid disarray, which overshadowed the 10-day cultural festival.

The Dube Birds piped Cosmos 3-2 in the final on a penalty shootout to lift the trophy.

They were tied at 1-1 after regulation time.

Swallows had beaten Stars 6-5 and Ezenkosi had pipped Celtic 8-7, also in penalty shootouts, to advance to the final.