Johannesburg football fans will find out on Wednesday morning if they will have another crackerjack Soweto derby to watch at FNB Stadium‚ or of the match will have to move elsewhere – most likely Durban.
Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates – who played an exciting league game won by Pirates in front of a capacity 87‚000 crowd at FNB two weekends ago – yhave been drawn to meet again in the Telkom Knockout semifinals.
A major hitch to the match being staged at FNB again is that Stadium Management of South Africa (SMSA) had already booked a major prayer meeting at FNB on November 24 and 25. The hugely anticipated derby semifinal rematch is scheduled for Saturday‚ November 24.
Should FNB not be available‚ 62‚000-seater Moses Mabhida Stadium on Durban would seem the most likely venue.
But there might yet be a solution to release FNB for what seems sure to be another sold-out Soweto derby.
SMSA managing director Bertie Grobbelaar said the company will know on Wednesday morning if FNB can be released from the commitment for the prayer meeting.
“We are currently in discussions‚ so I will be able to tell after the meeting tomorrow [Wednesday] morning‚” Grobbelaar said on Tuesday.
“Yes‚ there is a prayer meeting scheduled but we are currently in discussions about the possibility of accommodating the derby.
“If you give me a call tomorrow morning I will be able to tell you what’s cooking.”
Premier Soccer League (PSL) spokesperson Luxolo September said the league’s organising committee is yet to make a decision on where the two Telkom Knockout semifinal fixtures will be played.
Baroka FC were drawn as a home side against the cup’s defending champions‚ Bidvest Wits‚ in the other semi.
“The organising committee has not yet met. We will wait for their correspondence from the member club on their preference‚” said September‚ who is currently on Caf duty for the second leg of the Champions League final between Al Ahly of Egypt and Esperance of Tunisia in Tunis on Friday.
“The organising committee will make a decision after completing the discussions with the clubs involved in the semifinals.”
Moses Mabhida Stadium is one of the venues that could well be considered for the Chiefs-Pirates semi.
The Durban venue has hosted a number of cup matches and finals of this magnitude before.