AmaZulu explain Moses Mabhida Stadium decision for Orlando Pirates Telkom Knockout quarter-final
Posted: 30 October 2018 Time: 19:30
AmaZulu have explained why they shifted their Telkom Knockout quarter-final with Orlando Pirates to Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
Usuthu were initially expected to host the Buccaneers at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu.
However, the PSL and sponsors convinced them to take the fixture to Mabhida.
The KwaZulu-Natal outfit also stage games at King Zwelithini Stadium, the same venue that these two sides met earlier this month in a league game. Reportedly over 12 000 supporters flocked to watch that match without incident.
But a game with Mamelodi Sundowns at King Zwelithini last season was halted for eight minutes due to unruly fan behaviour, leading to a R640,000 fine (half suspended for 24 months) for the club.
At the same venue last month for a match with Sundowns, three people were arrested, with two of them apprehended for selling fake PSL and gospel concert tickets. That game will best be remembered for Downs coach Pitso Mosimane getting into a scuffle with Nathi Ngwenya of Ngwelela Security Services, the company that handles security for AmaZulu's home matches.
AmaZulu team manager Qedi Dlamini says the incidents in the matches with the Brazilians were not behind the change in venue.
"They [PSL] actually engaged us and we were part of the decision-making so it is because of the interest of the people towards the game," Dlamini tells KickOff.com.
"So they requested, actually the sponsor [Telkom], to consider our third venue because Moses Mabhida is our third venue. They requested to us moving the game to our third venue because of the interest of the people. You can also agree with me that this is the only big game that will be played in these quarter-finals, and therefore they requested us to move it to the venue. I think the board of directors of AmaZulu did so on the basis that there's a huge crowd anticipated.
"Of what happened in our past two matches against Sundowns, that never came into play. Obviously you cannot rule out the security issue, but they want marketing. So it'll be the game of the weekend, played nicely. So that's why we also said let's give it a look and agree with them to say, let's move the game to Moses Mabhida Stadium and nothing above that."
AmaZulu's last two matches at Mabhida yielded unfavourable results. They lost 2-1 to Maritzburg United in the final game of 2014/15 when they got relegated to the National First Division, while they were thumped 3-0 there by Kaizer Chiefs in their TKO opener last term.
With Usuthu used to playing their home matches in Umlazi, Dlamini was asked if facing Bucs at a bigger venue where their opponents will have more supporters in the stands will not prove to be a disadvantage for the hosts.
He says: "Yes, you can say we had an advantage of playing in Umlazi, but again that'll mean that even if we go to the final we'll not win then because they're not at their home ground?
"So what I'm saying, I think our players are ready to play anywhere. They are ready to play anywhere, even in the sky!
"If you say let's go and play in the sky we'll go and play in the sky. We actually prepared to play Pirates this time around at Moses Mabhida Stadium and we are ready to knock them out as well.
"But again, us as a club, we were part of the decision-making. We just want to encourage our supporters to buy tickets. I'm sure tickets will be ready any time soon. They can buy them at TicketPro as soon as they are ready."
Interestingly, the last time Pirates won this cup was at Mabhida in 2011 when they defeated Bidvest Wits 3-1 in the final.