Chiefs take on Hearts in Vodacom Challenge

South Africa’s soccer giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will be up against Ghana’s best teams in Ashante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak in the battle for the third edition of the Vodacom Challenge Cup in a double header at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on June 30.

The announcement and draw of the competition, which carries prize

money of R1 million, was made in Midrand on Tuesday.

Pirates won it in its inaugural year in 1999 while Chiefs won the

following year.

Chiefs were pitted against Hearts of Oak – the African Champions

whose coach Cecil Jones Attaquayefio was recently named African

Coach of The Year – in the first match to be played at 12:30pm.

Premier Soccer League champions Pirates will face Asante Kotoko,

who have won 14 championships and 12 Ghana FA Cup titles, in the

second match at 14:30.

Pirates boss Irvin Khoza said the acceptance of these two Ghanaian

soccer sides in this year’s Vodacom Challenge bore a vital

significance rendered more by the emotional proximity drawn from

recent tragic experiences by the South Africans and Ghanaian

nations.

Forty-three people died during a stampede during a Chiefs-Pirates

match at Ellis Park Stadium in a league match between Pirates and

Chiefs in April.

Four weeks later, at least 126 people died in a stampede in Accra

after Oaks had beaten Ashante Kotoko.

It is for that reason that Khoza, Chiefs’s managing director Kaizer Motaung and Andrew Mthembu of Vodacom dedicated this year’s soccerv spectacular to safety and security.

“The theme of the Vodacom Challenge is appropriately stated as the

healing process,” said Khoza.

Sharing Khoza’s sentiments, Motaung added that the tournament was

in pursuit of the African Renaissance.

“We felt it was fitting to invite the Ghanaians to come together

with us and go through this healing process in one spirit of

humanity.”

“In the light of tragedies experienced by the four teams, the

tournament is a perfect healing ground — a building block for a

new look continental or Southern hemisphere competition,” added

Mthembu.

The three men also announced that Pirates and Chiefs would also

play reciprocal matches against the Ghanaians on the visitors’ home

soil at a date still to be announced.

“We will donate a sum of R100000 to the victims’ fund,” said Khoza.

“The tournament constitutes one shade in the kaleidoscope of that

true liberation in an effort to free African soccer from the chains

of European colonisation in particular,” he said.

Motaung, who assured that the trophy would remain in South Africa,

added that it was incumbent for football leaders show the growth of

African football and also ensure that African soccer develops.

The break-down of the prize money is as follows:

Winners: R500 000

Runners-up: R250 000

Third and fourth places: R100 000