CAPE TOWN - The MTN8 final will be contested between Cape Town City and SuperSport United at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night (7pm kickoff). But, as the Capetonians prepare to tackle their Pretoria-based opponents, City owner John Comitis gave some insight into why he believed the PSL needed to re-think the concept of neutral venues for Cup finals.
For Comitis, because of the nature of football in South Africa, neutral venues do the clubs no favours at all. “I’m happy with Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban for Saturday’s final because it’s the most neutral venue we can get for the two teams involved in the final,” said Comitis.
“Ultimately, though, I’d like to see Cup finals in the PSL played at the venues of one of the two finalists, where the luck of the draw plays a role in who gets home advantage. On Saturday, the final is in Durban, which means we are servicing football fans but not the supporters of the two clubs involved. Yes, there will be a small contingent travelling to Durban for the final, but that’s not ideal.
“The two clubs have made the final, but their fans are not reaping the benefit of what they have achieved. By playing the match at one of the finalists’ venues, it means that at least one of the teams can use the occasion to build their brand. And, even if one of the finalists has to travel to the home base of the other, this is a Cup final and a team needs no other motivation; so that’s not really an issue.
“I think football is missing a moment. The question we have to ask, especially in the PSL where many of the clubs are struggling to build their clubs and their brands, is: are we mature enough a league for neutral venues? For example, imagine City had won the draw to play this final at home, I promise you we would have been able to fill Cape Town Stadium to capacity. Now imagine what that would mean to us as a young club? I’m sure the same goes for SuperSport”
Notwithstanding his thoughts on the venue, Comitis was confident of City putting up a good show in Saturday’s final. “The second-half comeback against Orlando Pirates last week was a moment to build on,” said Comitis. “The team showed great character to fight back from 2-0 down at halftime. It’s something to take to heart as we prepare for the final.
“Looking at the final last season, when we lost on penalties to SuperSport, we know the pain of not winning a final. I’m sure the players will be motivated to get the right result this time. We’ve already beaten SuperSport in the league this season - but, more importantly, we want to go out and do this for the people of Cape Town.”