LIVERPOOL’S match in Cape Town was supposed to be a celebration of football, and a chance for the many Liverpool supporters to watch their favourite team in South Africa for the first time in more than two decades.
But it has been turned into a bit of circus with the Premier Soccer League banning Ajax Cape Town from playing against the Reds, because of fears that the match might overshadow the Nedbank Cup final.
Of course the PSL has the right to refuse Ajax, but its argument makes no sense. The two matches aren’t on the same date and won’t even be played in the same city, since Durban has been announced as the venue for South Africa’s premier cup final.
The Nedbank Cup final will be played at the same time as the Uefa Champions League final, arguably the biggest club football match in the world. So if any game is likely to overshadow the cup final, it will be the clash between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium.
Sponsorship money is vital in sport, especially in the current economic climate, but surely the PSL can allow this match to continue, especially as events such as Liverpool playing in Cape Town would in the long run draw more fans to the game?
The city council is trying to attract top teams to play in Cape Town to get people back to the stadiums, and to unite this diverse metropolitan population through the power of sport. But it seems Cape Town always gets a raw deal when decisions are made by the authorities.
In the end it’s the poor fans who suffer because of personal issues and egos. With luck the issue will be resolved before Liverpool decide to pull the plug on the match, because this would discourage other big European teams from visiting the city.
The ball is in the PSL’s court. Let’s hope they don’t pick it up and go home with it, because we all want to play.