PSL respond to TKO replacement

Telkom Knockout

The Telkom Knockout competition will not be replaced in the 2021/22 season, the Premier Soccer League has confirmed.

This was revealed by the PSL chairman, Dr Irvin Khoza during the press briefing held in Johannesburg yesterday.

The PSL operated with only MTN8, Nedbank Cup and the DStv Premiership for top-flight clubs last season after the withdrawal of the Telkom Cup tournament.

Mamelodi Sundowns were the last winners of the TKO tournament during the 2019/20 season after they defeated Bloemfontein Celtic in the final.

Khoza and his acting CEO Manto Madlala cited congested fixture lists and travelling challenges as other reasons for not adding the fourth competition in the league this season.

"We're not having a replacement at the moment because there's thing we are dealing with in terms of understanding the full landscape of CAF [competitions]," said Khoza during the PSL press briefing in Johannesburg.

"There are too many competitions being played and adapting the fixtures, you saw last season how difficult it was for the clubs that were qualifying, coming back, changing and chopping, it's a challenge that's cost us a little bit of money in terms of the budget but it's a reality we have to face."

View the last five winners of the Telkom Knockout in the gallery below

PSL acting CEO, Mato Madlala reiterated Khoza's sentiments while adding that the Covid-19 travel restrictions have also played a role in not seeking an alternative sponsor.

"What complicates matters further, last season we had to play the first weekend of June which we don't normally do because we didn't have gaps, we didn't have dates available for teams participating in CAF and the challenges they are facing now with Covid too," Madlala said.

"When they travel, they have got to additional four or five days because they are required to test [themselves] whichever country they go to. When they come back, they have to do tests and the flights back are limited. We know just in South Africa how limited flights are.

"We're facing that in the new season where teams have to spend one or two additional days wherever their go because there are no flights, you can't go to Durban or Cape Town after six.

"So if you play at three or five you won't be able to go home. Those are the challenges we face and the few gaps that we now have [because of TKO] we're keeping those because we don't have any [other gaps]. We might have to stretch the season that's why an additional competition at this stage is not feasible," she concluded.

The DStv Premiership gets underway on Friday with a fixture between Mamelodi Sundowns and Amazulu in Tshwane.

The MTN8 quarter-finals were concluded on Sunday after Golden Arrows, Cape Town City, Swallows FC and Mamelodi Sundowns qualified for the semi-finals.

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