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Johannesburg – No fewer than eight Premiership teams will be in action in one province, on one day, as the Gauteng Cup and Charity Showdown afford teams valuable pre-season friendlies on Saturday.
Now in its third year, the Gauteng Cup will see reigning league champions Mamelodi Sundowns take on Moroka Swallows, while SuperSport United and cross-town rivals the University of Pretoria square off at Lucas Moripe Stadium, in Atteridgeville, in a one-day tournament.
The winners of each match will contest the final, with the champions walking away with a cool R500 000 for their efforts.
In Johannesburg, hosts Wits, Durban’s AmaZulu, Bloemfontein Celtic and Mpumalanga Black Aces will compete for bragging rights in the inaugural Charity Showdown trophy.
Money raised from the event will be donated to The Lunchbox Fund, a nationwide charity which feeds impoverished children.
AmaZulu boss Craig Rosslee, who has already arrived in Johannesburg ahead of the weekend tournament, said he and his team were delighted to be taking part in the event, in order to tinker the squad ahead of the new league season.
“Hopefully we will be in the final. This tournament is important for us. Last year we didn’t have this competition,” Rosslee said on Wednesday.
“It’s great to come up here against three tough teams. It’s going to be hard, and the Wits park is narrow.
“There'll be some exciting football and hopefully we’ll showpiece the new signings for the up-and-coming season.”
A heavy 3-0 loss to Kaizer Chiefs on the final day of the season cruelly condemned Rosslee’s team to a ninth-place finish in May, narrowly missing out on a spot in the first cup tournament of the season, the MTN8.
Traditionally played on the weekend before the start of the Premiership season, the top-eight competition provides teams with further match practise and a final opportunity to try new combinations, while competing for a major piece of silverware in the process.
For AmaZulu, however, it was not to be.
Rosslee will be wary of AmaZulu’s three opponents at the weekend. Black Aces and Wits both beat AmaZulu twice last season, while AmaZulu and Wits played to a goalless draw in their third meeting.
Celtic were unable to beat the coastal outfit after two attempts – a goalless draw, followed by a 1-1 stalemate – during the pair’s two league meetings. – Sapa