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Mangaung Cup quartet parade new signings

Posted: 30 July 2010 Time: 11:09

All roads lead to the revamped Botshabelo Stadium on Sunday where Ajax Cape Town, Bloemfontein Celtic and Moroka Swallows and Celtic's neighbours, Free State Stars, compete for the 2010 Old Mutual Mangaung Cup.

Ea Lla Koto will play in the early semi-final (09h30 kickoff) against two time winners, Ajax, while defending champions Celtic will meet Moroka Swallows in the second semi-final starting at 11h30. The final is scheduled for 15h30.

According to Joy Khaole, brand expression manager for sponsors Old Mutual: "The tournament aims to provide our sponsored teams with a competitive edge by giving them the opportunity to take part in a professional tournament a week before the official PSL season gets underway."

Khaole added that their involvement is not only about sponsoring a tournament but about ensuring that the players' financial well being is taken care of as well.

"Following the success of last year's tournament in Botshabelo, we intend complementing the football with plenty of community initiatives that will provide a platform for football fans to come together and revitalise their passion post World Cup 2010."

The tournament also provides a unique opportunity to prepare some of the national referees for the upcoming PSL season and will act as an appropriate warm-up to familiarise them with match conditions after a long layoff," said Adeel Carelse, professional referees' coordinator.

Spectators will get a chance to see new recruits in action. Nathan Paulse who has joined "Siwelele" from Swedish team Hammerby, Clifford Mulenga (ex Black Aces), exciting youngsters in Kekana and Mahoa, who both come from triple PSL champions SuperSport United, Mushegu (Golden Arrows) and Ipileng Seepamare who was promoted from the Celtic development.

Free State Stars, who are making their second appearance, have not finalised their squad but fans can expect to see the exciting Lehumo Itshegetseng who has just joined from Black Aces.

New coach, Sunday Chiozamba, who is the ex national Zimbabwean mentor and took Zimbabwe to the 2008 Afcon, will be looking for a good start to his tenure as Gordon Igesund's replacement.

Rainer Zobel, Swallows' German coach who took over the squad at last year's Old Mutual Mangaung Cup, will surely give some of his new players a run.

Keeper, Sage Lottering has joined from the Swallows' Youth Development Academy, as has defender Lelethu Mkatshane and striker Freddie Ngobese. Much is expected from Giorgi Nergadze, who has joined from Georgia and Oscar Machapa, who has recently returned from a stint in the USA.

Evergreen Siyabonga Nomvete, whose career was revitalised by his inclusion in the Bafana Bafana SWC 2010 squad, is sure to provide fans loads of thrills with his electrifying pace.

Ajax Cape Town, who won the first two Old Mutual Mangaung Cups, have vowed to regain the trophy and will be the first team to arrive on Friday evening.

An added extra for tournament fans is the Old Mutual Group Schemes wellness area with nurses conducting a variety of free medical tests that include blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and body mass index tests.

Tickets for the event are on sale at all CompuTicket and Shoprite outlets as well as the local garages in Botshabelo at a cost of R25 for adults and R10 for children.

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