Thrilling feast for soccer lovers at tournament

2009-04-13 00:00

Football fanatics were treated to a bumper festival of thrilling soccer action at the 36th Padsa/Msunduzi Easter Tournament, which took place at Northdale Stadium this past weekend.

An estimated crowd of more than 40 000 people converged at the stadium to watch 120 teams battle it out for prize money that amounted to R700 000 in total.

Speaking to The Witness before the senior Group 1 final yesterday, Padsa chairman Sunny Naidoo said spectators were well behaved and no incidences of violence had been reported.

“People are having fun and we’ve had an exciting tournament,” he said.

Naidoo, who has been affiliated with Padsa for almost 30 years, says planning the event generally takes the whole year.

“We start the day after the final each year and because it’s such a big event, we have to meet and plan regularly,” he said.

After investing in last year’s tournament, the Msunduzi Municipality has once again sponsored R400 000 towards next year’s event.

Msunduzi Deputy Mayor Mervyn Dirks said sporting events have elevated Pietermaritzburg’s status and the municipality is proud to sponsor such events. “This tournament was dying due to a lack of funding. Last year, the municipality decided to come on board as a major sponsor and since then the tournament has seen a major revival. People have come here from all over the country and next year’s event will be even bigger,” he said.

Spectator Regan Dos Santos has been attending the tournament since he was a youngster and says he looks forward to it every year. “It was very entertaining. Competition was tough and I’m already looking forward to next year’s one,” he said.

Soccer fan Romano Harper disagreed, saying this year’s tournament was a major disappointment.

“The standard of football has dropped. This year was not as exciting as the previous years, but I’ll still come back next year because soccer is very special to me. I just hope a local team wins because it would be heartbreaking to see a team from another province take the cup,” he said.

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