By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
FOOTBALL fanatics in the province of Limpopo have a reason to smile as news that their newly built Peter Mokaba Stadium was to become a white elephant is now water under the bridge.
These after a number of Premier Soccer League clubs were confirmed to have shown interest of using the venue.
Before the Telkom Knockout semi-final match involving Kaizer Chiefs and Santos a month ago, the 45 000 capacity state of art venue which was constructed opposite the old rugby stadium had never hosted any match apart from the four of the 2010 FIFA World Cup between June and July.
Ndavhe Ramakuela who was part of the provincial OC during the world cup has since confirmed that the Chiefs-Santos match at the venue was the beginning of great things to come at the venue as more matches are expected at this venue.
“There are a number of clubs, mostly from Gauteng which have applied to use the venue as their alternative home ground,” said Ramakuela.
Ramakuela’ statement was again this week confirmed with Chiefs hosting their Absa Premiership’s home match at the venue against BidVest Wits University on Saturday, December 18. Chiefs went on to win that match 1-0 in front of a capacity crowd, a courtesy goal of Knowledge Musona.
Contrary to earlier reports that only clubs from Gauteng such as Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Wits were the only clubs interested in using the venue, Free State Stars have also shown interest and have already confirmed that they will host two league matches at the venue.
Ea Lla Koto’s confirmed two matches in Polokwane include the one against Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns on January 29 and February 18 respectively.
“Apart from these three matches, there will be three more matches, and this time CAF’s African Champions and CAF’s Confederations Cup involving PSL clubs and their African opponents,” confirmed Ramakuela.
SuperSport United and Wits are the two clubs which will be representing South Africa in the CAF Champions League and CAF’s Confederations Cup after the two won the league and the Nedbank Cup last season respectively and chances are that they are both likely to utilize the Peter Mokaba Stadium to attract support as fans in Gauteng have proved to be not interested in watching such matches.
“With our province not having a club in the elite league, it has been our dream to have at least one of the big clubs using Peter Mokaba Stadium, and it appears our wish has been granted,” said Ramakuela.
The last time Limpopo had a representative in the big league was in 2007 when Black Leopards were still campaigning in the top flight.
The Venda-based outfit which goes by the nickname of Lidoda Duvha has been struggling to make a quick return to the elite league.
Last year the club lost in the final match of the promotion play-offs, losing out to Vasco da Gama.
The people of Limpopo however are crossing their fingers that either Leopards or Bay United which was bought by a Limpopo tycoon could enhance their chances of winning the league in order to quench their thirst for professional football action dished by their own clubs