The 13th edition of the Vodacom League National Play-Offs got underway in a bright Cape Town sunshine at the Philippi Stadium at the Philippi Stadium on Tuesday, as the opening two fixtures in the Coastal group set the tone for what is expected to be a keenly contested quest for promotion to the National First Division over the forthcoming five days.
A sizeable crowd was on hand to witness the opening ceremony, which involved a march past of the competing teams, accompanied by some energetic dancing from a local troupe, while spectators were treated to free red Vodacom T-shirts, which were handed out as they entered the stadium.
Free State representatives, Roses United opened proceedings with a hard-fought 1-0 win over KwaZulu-Natal’s Durban Stars, who were reduced to nine men after captain, Nkosinathi Dhlamuka and Philani Dlamini received red cards, as they struggled to contain Roses. Midfielder Kenoshi Motshegwa’s second half strike was enough to give Roses the all important three points to get their campaign up and running.
In the second match of the day, local favourites Chippa FC, vociferously backed up by their throngs of supporters, could not breach the stubborn Buffalo FC rearguard, despite almost total domination of the play. However, the Eastern Cape representatives proved equal to the task, and the match finished goalless after 90 minutes, earning them a point each.
“The jovial atmosphere and encouraging turn-out of fans is most encouraging and we are anticipating a highly entertaining play-off series that will culminate in a grand final on Sunday. Vodacom’s efforts and involvement has created the conditions for the smooth running of the event, enhancing the experience for everyone concerned,” said SAFA’s Director of Competitions, Steve Pila.
Vodacom’s Managing Executive: Marketing, Enzo Scarcella added, “The vibe at the stadium on the opening day shows just how much Cape Town fans love their football and to sees the stands packed to the brim, overflowing with passion for the game is why Vodacom is so committed to supporting the South African supporter. If this is what it’s like on the first day, it promises to be electric by the time the final is played on Sunday.”
On Wednesday (08 June 2011), the Coastal group continues with matches between Chippa FC and Real Madrid, from Northern Cape, kicking off time is 12h00 at University of the Western Cape Stadium, while Buffalo FC, from Eastern
Cape will face Roses at Philippi Stadium, also at midday. In the Inland group, Limpopo’s Baroka FC, fresh from a Cinderella cup run that garnered them national attention, take on Highlands Park FC, from Gauteng at the
Philippi Stadium, with Garankuwa United, from North West meeting Mpumalanga Sivutsa Stars at the UWC (University of Western Cape) Stadium. Both matches kick off at 15h00