ring of shame blights plans

WHILE Amazulu are making waves and leaving everyone else in their wake in Telkom Charity Cup voting, Professor Ronnie Schloss is a very worried man.

WHILE Amazulu are making waves and leaving everyone else in their wake in Telkom Charity Cup voting, Professor Ronnie Schloss is a very worried man.

By late last night Usuthu, on 34221 votes, were more than 14 000 votes ahead of second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns (19944) with Orlando Pirates third on 16117 and Kaizer Chiefs fourth on 14 815. Trailing in fifth position were Premier Soccer League newcomers Mpumalanga Black Aces on 5418 votes.

With Premiership game attendance last year clearly showing that Celtic are the flavour of the moment, it is surprising that they come in at a lowly sixth position with a paltry 3071 votes.

Interest is clearly high in this much anticipated one-day Premiership season opener set for where it all started, Ellis Park stadium, on August 1.

Schloss, the league's chief operations officer, voiced concern at the lack of support for the event from corporate South Africa whose "white ring of shame" (the corporate suites) is always conspicuous during soccer events.

The same "ring" is always full to capacity during rugby games as was the case when the Springboks faced the British and Irish Lions a few weeks ago.

"We hope to see the owners of those suites opening them up and coming to the party on August 1. It is a white belt of shame. Seeing all those unused suites during football matches is disappointing and we hope that changes this time around," Schloss said at the launch of the event at Summer Place.

The same thing happened during the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, which had some matches hosted at the venue.

The "white belt of shame" was even more conspicuous during the Bafana Bafana versus Brazil match. The stadium is also in line to host 2010 Fifa World Cup games.

Meanwhile, Pirates spokesperson Mickey Modisane yesterday called on The Ghost to up their votes and make sure the team features in the event.

"The competition is in our backyard and we cannot afford to be left out. Our supporters are called upon to vote in numbers so that they can get the opportunity of seeing their new-look squad in action," he said.

"We have acquired some exciting talent, which we hope to unleash on the day, but the only way we can do that is if we are part of the event.

"We are also launching a new kit on Wednesday and they are all invited to the Carlton Centre to be part of this big announcement," said Modisane.

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