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Cape Town’s newest Premier Soccer League (PSL) club, Chippa United, enter their first home game in the top-flight tomorrow – and they couldn’t have asked for a more daunting opener than the always- difficult-to-beat Free State Stars.
The match has been scheduled for Athlone Stadium (kick off 7.30pm), though Chippa have promised that, within a few months, they will reapply to the PSL to bring their games to their home base at Philippi Stadium.
At the moment, the PSL has vetoed the use of the township venue as it is not up to the standard required.
Chippa’s general manager Wanda Mbenguzana explained: “The club will always feel indebted to the Philippi community as they supported us through our adversities and triumphs when the stadium was still our home ground during our time in the Second and First Division, but we will be taking our matches there as soon as we get PSL approval regarding the standards we are required to meet.”
Chippa started their PSL campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns in Atteridgeville, but won many plaudits for the way they performed. They certainly weren’t intimidated and at no stage did they look out of their depth at this level.
In fact, afterwards, Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens admitted that he thought Chippa would surprise quite a few sides this season.
Tomorrow, at Athlone, Chippa have an opportunity to make an impact at home and deliver a performance that will keep bringing the fans back to the stadium. “We are happy about the new look of our club and the team improvements in general,” added Mbenguzana. “The club is moving in a positive direction, even though there’s always room for improvement.”
Chippa will again be guided by inspirational captain and central defender Gift Sithole.
Sithole was the club’s best player during the promotion play-offs, and he will be eager to show that he can transfer that level of performance to the PSL. He will definitely have to be at his best against the Free State club’s marauding forwards, Morou Zakari, Moeketsi Mvula and Boitumelo Sekgobela.
What’s more, over the years, Stars have seemed to develop a penchant for playing rather well in the Mother City.