Sun City emerges as favourite to host massive PSL camp in bid to complete season

18 May 2020 - 13:39
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Premier Soccer League chairman Irvin Khoza addresses a press conference at the League's headquarters in Parktown. Khoza could not confirm the news as his phone was off.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix Premier Soccer League chairman Irvin Khoza addresses a press conference at the League's headquarters in Parktown. Khoza could not confirm the news as his phone was off.

Sun City Resort in the North West province has emerged as a strong contender to house all the topflight and lower tier clubs in a massive single camp as part of a proposed plan by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to complete the season that was interrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak in March.

The majority of the topflight clubs have six matches remaining in the campaign and three insiders close to developments told TimesLIVE that the popular holiday destination is viewed as a possible venue to accommodate all 32 clubs - the 16 Absa Premiership and the 16 GladAfrica Championship - in a single camp.

The plan will be proposed to government and the matches could be played in July if it is given the green light.

The insiders said Sun City has emerged as a strong favourite as it is located in a secluded area that could be controlled and modelled into a safe environment. 

The three nearby stadiums - the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Olympia Park and the Moruleng Stadium - also offer the PSL with easy access to venues that could host the flurry of matches that are expected to be played during the camp.

North West has no shortage of options as it is also home to the Royal Marang Hotel, a world class facility that has practice grounds, medical suites and gymnasium.

England used the facility as their base during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The insiders said a verification process will be conducted to check if there are enough beds and training facilities at Sun City for all the teams.

“The good thing about Rustenburg is that you can drive from Johannesburg to Pretoria and they have three stadiums that meet PSL standards. 

"You have to treat this whole thing like the World Cup because there must be enough accommodation, training grounds and stadiums to accommodate all the 32 teams,” the insider said.

If the proposed plan to use Sun City as a massive camp does not succeed, the Plan B is to house all the teams at various hotels in Johannesburg and possibly in Pretoria where there will be no major issues with training grounds and stadiums.

Johannesburg has FNB Stadium, Orlando Stadium, Rand Stadium, Bidvest Stadium, Makhulong Stadium while Pretoria has Lucas Moripe Stadium and Loftus Stadium, venues that are currently used for Premiership and Championship matches.

“If Sun City does not pass, Sandton can host most if not all the teams because you have hotels there and you can look elsewhere around Johannesburg if more capacity is needed," another insider said. 

"The only issue with Sandton is that there have been a number of reported coronavirus cases in the area.

"The plan is to have all the teams in one camp where stringent health and safety protocols are followed to the letter because that is the most important thing for everyone who is going to be involved.”

The other plan is to have all the GladAfrica Championship teams housed elsewhere in Gauteng or in Limpopo province.

Limpopo has the New and Old Peter Mokaba Stadiums that are situated next to each other.

When TimesLIVE contacted acting PSL chief executive officer Mato Madlala for comment on Monday afternoon, she said she did not know anything about the plan and referred all questions to the League chairman Irvin Khoza.

But Khoza could not be reached on his phone.

Sun City said they have not yet been contacted by the PSL.