England has the FA Cup, Spain has the prestigious Copa Del Rey, the Egyptian Cup dates back to 1921, these domestic cup competitions have prestige and rich tradition that span for decades especially the FA Cup which started in 1881.These trophies epitomise the grand stature of their respective leagues, any player that participates in these competitions will tell you the significance of winning and ultimately etching their clubs name in history.

In South African, the Premier Soccer League clubs contest three domestic cup competitions, The Nedbank Cup, Telkom Cup, MTN 8 Cup, (excluding the ABSA League) and let’s not forget the so-called Black Label Cup contested only by Chiefs and Pirates. The PSL is deemed the best league in Africa and rates amongst the best in the world in terms of revenue, TV Rights, prize money etc. BUT have we lost the balance between preserving our tradition vs maximizing profits for a few individuals. A prime example is the Iwisa maize meal soccer spectacular cup that was canned in 2010 in favour of the Black Label Cup.

The Iwisa maize meal soccer spectacular cup later changed to Telkom Charity Cup was one of the MAIN highlights in the SA football calendar, supporters would vote for their teams and ultimately the four that amassed the most votes would compete in this ‘PRESTIGIOUS’ one day tournament, clubs would show case their off- season signings, football fans came from all corners of South Africa, irrespective whether  their team was participating or not,  it was a competition that drew a wide audience through print and electronic media in Southern Africa, shebeens would fill to a brim, townships would come to a halt that weekend pre/post match day,  the now refurbished Soccer City (Previously known as FNB Stadium) would be filled to its capacity.

This was the stage where Doc Khumalo made his début in 1991 and where the likes of Jabu Pule, the late Scara “Black Jesus” Ngobese, Jerry Skhosana, Dennis Lota made their mark, Ajax CT played their first official match in 1999, where they beat Chiefs 1-0 with Sam Pam scoring the historical goal. The Iwisa maize meal soccer spectacular was a day filled with entertainment suited for an average supporter, and who would forget Louis Tshakoane’s antics on the touchline that mesmerised the crowds. The epic 1998 final between chiefs and pirates where a marathon of thirty penalties took place is still viewed as the best in the life cycle of the competition,  let’s not forget the sole idea of this initiative was to collect money for the needy, over 110 charity organization benefited from the R9.8 million raised since the inception of the Charity Cup in 1986, Some of the beneficiaries where Operation Hunger, Red Cross Feeding Scheme, SA Cancer Association and Dominican School for Deaf Children.

A few would argue that the two oldest domestic trophies the ¹MTN 8 and ²Nedbank cups have a rich history and tradition but have lost the pedigree and grand stature to capture the imagination of South African fans unlike the Iwisa maize meal soccer spectacular cup.

This is an urgent plea to the PSL, please re-instate the life blood of our football, BRING BACK the The Charity Cup our HOLY GRAIL!!!!

SFC

¹MTN 8 previously known as BP Top 8 (sponsored by  from 1972 to 2002) and SAA Supa 8 (sponsored by South African Airways from 2003 to 2007), the competition that dates back to 1972.

² Nedbank Cup a tournament that started in 1971 as the Life Challenge Cup, this name stayed in place until 1975. In 1976 and 1977, the tournament was known as the Benson and Hedges Trophy. From 1978 until 1987 the tournament was known as the Mainstay Cup. In 1988 the sponsorship was taken over by First National Bank, and was renamed the Bob Save Super Bowl. This name remained until 2001, however the tournament was not played in 1997. The tournament was again not played in 2002. The competition was then sponsored by ABSA between 2003 and 2007, and known as the ABSA Cup. Nedbank took over the sponsorship in 2008, and renamed the tournament the Nedbank Cup.

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