Club Ambassador and legendary former captain Gary Mabbutt represented Tottenham Hotspur alongside Executive Director, Donna Cullen, at the official launch of the 2011 Vodacom Challenge in South Africa today (Tuesday).
The challenge will see us take on Orlando Pirates FC and Kaizer Chiefs from July 16-23 as we look to reclaim the title we won in 2007, while current holders Kaizer Chiefs will aim for a repeat of their 2009 triumph, when they beat Manchester City 1-0 in the final.
All four match venues for the 2011 Vodacom Challenge have now been announced, and all were used during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, providing world-class facilities for the players and supporters alike.
The tournament will kick-off at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane when Kaizer Chiefs take on Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, July 16 (15h00 kick off).
It is a fitting place to start, given that in the last edition of the Vodacom Challenge in 2009, Orlando Pirates took on Manchester City at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium, in the shadow of the new venue as it was still being built.
The action then moves on to the Mbombela Stadium in Mbombela on Tuesday, July 19 (20h15 kick off) as Orlando Pirates meet Tottenham Hotspur in a repeat of the 2007 Final that we won 3-0.
It is the first time that Mbombela will host a Vodacom Challenge match, a new venue to add to the fantastic arenas that have been used in the past.
The all-important Soweto Derby to determine the finalists to meet Tottenham Hotspur in the tournament will be played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Thursday, July 21 (20h15 kick off).
This year’s Final will be played at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday, July 23 (15h00 kick off), where the trophy will be handed to the winning captain.
The match will no doubt be an emotional occasion, coming 10 years on from the tragic events of April 11, 2001, at the then Ellis Park stadium after a stampede during a Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
Tickets for the matches go on sale at the end of May and can be purchased through Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers and Checkers Hyper with prices ranging from R50 to R150.
There is a special relationship between Tottenham Hotspur and South Africa and the Club has a long-term partnership with SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa having funded the Tottenham Hotspur House in the SOS Children’s Village in Rustenburg.
This will be the fourth time that Tottenham Hotspur has been to South African shores, having first visited the country in 1963 as holders of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and then again in 2003 to support South Africa’s bid for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, followed by our 2007 appearance at the Vodacom Challenge.
Justin Sampson, the CEO of SAIL, says the Vodacom Challenge is the perfect way to start the 2011/12 domestic season.
He said: “For us to secure a side of the quality of Tottenham Hotspur to take on our own South African giants in Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs shows the tremendous drawing power of the Vodacom Challenge as a competition, and of South Africa as a footballing destination. The array of attacking talent in the Tottenham Hotspur side means we will be in for highly-entertaining football from some of the elite players on the European scene.”
And once again, the Vodacom Challenge will be used to raise funds to help give the gift of sight. With the Vodacom Foundation’s ‘Goals for Miracles’ initiative, R150 000 will be donated each time a goal is scored in regulation time during the tournament to contribute towards free cataract operations for South African citizens battling with their sight.
The Vodacom Challenge was first played in 1999 and for the first seven tournaments featured Chiefs and Pirates against teams from the rest of Africa. But since 2006, the visitors to the competition have been from the English Premiership.
Pirates have won the competition on two previous occasions in 1999 and 2005, while Kaizer Chiefs have five wins to their name in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2009 respectively. Of the visiting teams to have triumphed, Democratic Republic of Congo sides St Eloi Lupopo (2002) and AS Vita (2004) have won, as well as Tottenham Hotspur (2007) and Manchester United (2008).
2011 VODACOM CHALLENGE FIXTURES:
Sat, July 16 Kaizer Chiefs v Tottenham Hotspur – Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane (15h00)
Tues, July 19 Orlando Pirates v Tottenham Hotspur – Mbombela Stadium, Mbombela (20h15)
Thu, July 21 Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth (20h15)
Sat, July 23 Derby Winner v Tottenham Hotspur – Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg (15h00)