Aces battle for Puma Stadium
Posted: 10 May 2009 Time: 2:37 pm
First Division side Mpumalanga Black Aces are still battling with the provincial rugby authorities for the use of Atlantic Stadium.
Aces want to use the stadium for their upcoming promotional play-off fixture against the loser of the first tier play-off that pits Jomo Cosmos against Carara Kicks. The Atlantic rugby ground, which is owned by the Witbank Town Council but leased to the local rugby board, has not been used for football matches this year, allegedly because of racial discrimination by the Puma rugby authorities. Aces last played at Atlantic on December 5 last year. The unavailability of the stadium has forced Aces to seek refuge at the home of First Division neighbours Witbank Spurs at Ackerville Stadium and in KaNyamazane in Nelspruit. Aces, who finished second in the Inland Stream, will start away, against either Cosmos or Carara on Sunday, May 24, before playing at home in a mid-week tie on May 27 that will seal the fate of who proceeds to the second-tier final. The other semifinals, to be played on the same dates, will pit FC Cape Town, who finished second in the Coastal Stream, against the club which finishes 15th on the PSL log, Thanda Royal Zulu. The First Division automatic promotion battle between Cosmos and Carara continues at George Thabe Stadium in the Vaal on Sunday after a goalless draw at Charles Mopeli on Thursday night. “The Mpumalanga government has sent the letter to the rugby union because we are no longer dealing directly with the rugby authorities,” says Aces’ CEO Peter Koutroulis. “The Atlantic Stadium is the only stadium with proper lighting for a game that is to be televised. The only other option we have is Secunda which is, however, way too far for our supporters to travel to for a midweek game being played in the evening. There is also no guarantee for the safety of our fans if the game is played in Secunda. “We still have not as yet received an answer from the rugby board, but I understand they are having a meeting on Monday,” Koutroulis adds. The final to determine the team to fill the last PSL spot available next season will be played over two legs on June 2 and 6.