Decision to switch venue to Mdantsane a tactical move and to attract greater support
Port Elizabeth soccer lovers will have to travel to East London if they want to watch the Nedbank Cup semifinal between Chippa United and SuperSport United on May 20.
Chippa United’s management team have decided to take the game to the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane and chief operations officer Lukhanyo Mzinzi said the reason for the move was tactical and to draw a bigger crowd.
The Chilli Boys progressed to the semifinals following a 1-0 win against Jomo Cosmos at the weekend.
“When we met and analysed the type of club SuperSport is, their way of play and also the stadiums that they are used to, we thought of taking the match to East London,” Mzinzi said.
“The 12th man [crowd] is a very important factor for our players.
“One of the things that will be a big factor is the support that we will get [in East London].”
Mzinzi said as much as Chippa loved playing in Port Elizabeth, few could argue against the fact that the Sisa Dukashe Stadium would be filled to capacity.
When asked why they were taking this specific cup game to Buffalo City after the others had been played in Port Elizabeth, Mzinzi said: “Before we make decisions, we obviously also consider the opposition.
“We played two national division sides and you can never take them to a smaller stadium because they are used to it.
“It would have been a different case if we were drawn against Orlando Pirates, because of the capacity of the stadium and the logistics involved.
“But SuperSport is a club that is used to playing in empty and bigger stadiums and we wanted a change in environment.
“Plus, the other factor is that we are playing SuperSport on Wednesday May 17 here in PE just before the semifinals.
“So, we would have played them twice in three days in the same stadium.” Gauteng teams have had a tough time playing at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium and the Chilli Boys have never lost a match in Mdantsane.
“We took Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns there and they struggled,” Mzinzi said.
“We are taking Ajax Cape Town there and we know we are going to win that game.”
Chippa United owner Siviwe Mpengesi said taking the game to East London made sense.
“As we will be embarking on this historic cup journey for the first time, we definitely need that 12th player behind us, and our Mdantsane supporters will do exactly that to motivate us,” he said.
Should Chippa beat SuperSport, they will meet either Pirates or Golden Arrows in the lucrative final where the winners are assured to pocket R7-million in prize-money.
Nelson Mandela Bay director of sport and recreation Charmaine Williams said the municipality was not aware of Chippa moving the game to East London.
“Our agreement with Chippa only specifies league matches and not cup games. They are meant to play 10 of their home fixtures at the main [NMB] stadium,” she said.
“If it [the switch of venues] was influenced by the support and the number of people attending their games at the NMB Stadium, then as residents we have to look at ourselves and question why we are not filling up the stadium like the residents of Buffalo City.”