Soccer fans be forewarned: It’s early days to flock to the stadiums

Johannesburg – It’s a grand move by the PSL to earmark this season’s MTN8 final between
Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City at the iconic Moses Mabhida 2010 World Cup Stadium in Durban on October 30 to welcome back the fans.

The decision is to be commended in more ways than one.

But let’s not get carried away, however, as the same Covid-19 health and safety protocols that were in place at FNB Stadium when Bafana Bafana thrashed the Ethiopians for the second time in a row apply.

In the same breath, I must forewarn fans that they must do themselves a huge favour by not forgetting that if they are not fully vaccinated and can prove it by producing a vaccination certificate, they will not be allowed anywhere near the stadium.

Disturbingly, the scuffles that we saw between police and fans forcing their way into Soccer City without tickets – only 2 000 fans were allowed – should be avoided at all cost.

Positive though, it ended well with all parties involved applying maximum restraint to avoid the situation turning nasty.

It would be a recipe for disaster if any of the supporters of Masandawana and the Citizens would want to leisurely gain entry without observing the strict health and protocols in place.

So, rather watch the game in the comfort of your home with family members or at your favourite sports bar with friends.

It’s bound to be a great final when the Tshwane giants wrestle for the title that has eluded them for 14 years.

Then, the competition was known as the BP Top 8.

Masandawana must guard against complacency because the lads from the winelands, who last won it with Benni McCarthy at the helm three seasons ago in 2018, are equally determined to upset their Gauteng opponents. We are in for a scintillating final.

For many, sobering up from the hangover of seeing themselves at soccer stadiums week in and week out, all I can say is hold your horses, it is still early days.

The Sundowns and Cape Town City Wafa Wafa final only serves as a pilot project for the new protocols.

The government and the Health Ministry under Dr Joe Phaahla have announced that the “return to play” programme is in full swing, but that a piecemeal approach would be implemented.

While it was pleasing to see soccer Bafana supporters returning to the stadium midweek for the first time since March 2020, the PSL’s league fixtures have not yet been pencilled in as part of the new Covid-19 protocols.

Only 165 people will be allowed for the Premiership and first division matches this weekend and going forward.

We’ve started with 2 000 fans, who knows, we might have 50 000 fans by the time the PSL is concluded with the Nedbank Cup and the last league fixtures in May next year.

Football as the sport of the people was prioritised deliberately as it is supported by the country’s poor and downtrodden masses.

Not forgetting though that rugby, cricket and netball have also been itching to see their supporters gracing the match venues. Vaccination is the buzz word.

Xolile Mtshazo

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