Vodacom Challenge cancelled

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The annual pre-season Vodacom Challenge has been officially cancelled this year because of “time constraints”, the sponsors confirmed on Tuesday.

The tournament, which features local giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates against invited overseas teams, will resume next year.

“Due to time constraints, we felt that at this late stage of the season we would not have done the tournament any justice,” tournament promoter Jabu Mathibela said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We pride ourselves on operational excellence and the limited time frames would have compromised the quality of the product which South Africans have grown to know and love,” he said.

It has long been speculated that the tournament, which is played in mid-July, would fall away this season.

However, there were also rumours that the English side, Newcastle United, and DR Congo's TP Mazembe would participate this season.

The tournament, which first took place in 1999, also fell away in 2010 when the Fifa World Cup was staged in South Africa.

Among previous teams that have been guests are England giants and current Premiership champions Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur.

The African teams which have featured are TP Mazembe, Asec Mimosa from Ivory Coast and Ghana's top side Asante Kotoko.

Pirates won the trophy last year. Chiefs have collected it five times, the most titles in the 12 editions staged.

United will be back in South Africa next month, but as part of their pre-season training.

They will play against AmaZulu and Ajax Cape Town in Durban and Cape Town respectively, in their fourth visit to the country.

Both Chiefs and Pirates renewed their sponsorship with the Vodacom in May for the next five years.

The sides will share R1 billion from the deal. – Sapa


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