Classic clash on the cards at the Cape Town Stadium Soccer Festival

The Cape Town Stadium Soccer Festival on 23 January will see Premier Soccer League sides Santos and Ajax Cape Town do battle for local pride as the Mother City’s brand new, R4.5-billion stadium is opened for the first event.

The event, hosted by the City of Cape Town, organised by Stadium Operators SAIL STADEFRANCE and sponsored by Virgin Active Health Clubs and MTN, will give local fans a chance to see another instalment in the fierce rivalry between these two great Cape Town clubs.

“Virgin Active sees this partnership opportunity as the first step to a continued and integral part of the Cape Town Stadium going forward. We are part of the community of South Africa and are proud to host the first ever game at our world class stadium,” Virgin Active Managing Director, Ross Faragher-Thomas, says.

“Fans who are attending the Soccer Festival at Cape Town Stadium can enjoy the best of South African football as well as the best of South African music. We are delighted to be part of such a high-quality entertainment package and look forward to joining Cape Town fans for a day of fun,” says Dudley Zikhali MTN Football Sponsorship Manager.

The City of Cape Town will also provide a FREE shuttle service from the Civic Centre in Herzog Boulevard to the stadium and back, and all you need to do to use the facility is present your match tickets.

Should you require any further information on the event, please contact the Helpline on +2721 487 6800.

In order to wet the appetite, here are five classic clashes between the two from years gone by:

2001/02

Coca-Cola Cup quarterfinal

Santos 1 (Burton) Ajax Cape Town 0 – After extra time

This was always going to be a fiercely-contested Cup tie with both teams packed with attacking talent, and was fought out in the old Green Point Stadium, the site of the magnificent new Cape Town Stadium.

Both sides had heroes on the night, but only one would be victorious and it was Edries Burton, now the COO of Santos, who netted the winner in the 119th minutes, just as it looked as though penalties would be needed to separate the two sides.

That Ajax Cape Town made it that far was down to the heroics of goalkeeper Calvin Marlin, who had an exceptional night between the poles, making a number of world-class saves. The all-important goal came from a Thando Mngomeni corner, as Sebastien Bax headed one and Burton and Jean-Marc Ithier went up for the ball.

Although Burton was credited with the goal, replays suggested it was the Mauritian Ithier who got the final touch.

2002/03

Premier Soccer League

Santos 2 (Otieno, Ithier) Ajax Cape Town 3 (Hartley 2, Carelse)

This fine-goal thriller produced the most-ever goals in a game between Santos and Ajax, and produced a fantastic win for the Urban Warriors in what was a season of struggle.

Ajax Cape Town would eventually escape relegation by just two points, and so how vital these three points proved for the side.

Veterans Musa Otieno and Jean-Marc Ithier netted for Santos, but those goals were eclipsed by a brace from Junaid Hartley, a supremely gifted footballer who never quite reached his full potential, and a young Brent Carelse, who would go on to be stalwart for the Urban Warriors before moving on to SuperSport United.

2002/03

ABSA Cup final

Santos 2 (T Arendse, Moloi) Ajax Cape Town 0

This may have been a great day for Santos, but in truth it was also a great day for Cape football as fans came out in their numbers to the Athlone Stadium to support their local teams. The ABSA Cup, now known as the Nedbank Cup, is the premier knockout competition in South African football and is our version of the world famous FA Cup in England. Santos went into the match as favourites and so it proved as two goals in the first half were enough to sink Ajax. The first came in the 18th minute as an Edries Burton throw-in was picked up by Jean-Marc Ithier, who flicked on for Tyren Arendse to volley past a helpless Moeneeb Joseph in the Ajax Cape Town goal. And they extended their lead just four minutes later as Fees Moloi broke down the left, cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot that against left Joseph stranded. That was the way it remained, and would be the last time Santos collected a major trophy up to the present day.

2006/07

ABSA Cup semifinal

Ajax Cape Town 1 (Fanteni) Santos 0

Ajax Cape Town would get their revenge for the ABSA Cup Final defeat to Santos in 2003, but it would take them almost four years to do so.

This time the sides met in the semifinals and a lone goal from Ajax Cape Town striker Thembinkosi ‘Terror’ Fanteni would be enough to separate the two sides.

And what a stunning goal it was too as the gifted Fanteni found the back of the net with a cheeky back-heel to send his side into a Final they win 2-0 against Mamelodi Sundowns.

It was an excellent performance under pressure for Ajax Cape Town, and once again a great advert for Cape football.

2008/09

Premier Soccer League

Ajax Cape Town 1 (Khenyeza) Santos 1 (Otieno)

This typically blood-and-thunder League encounter came with both sides desperate for points to maintain their Championship challenges, and although the scoreline was only 1-1, it was a night of high drama and excitement for fans.

The teams traded early shots in a frenetic opening spell that had both goalkeepers scrambling, before Eleazar Rodgers laid on a brilliant pass for Graham King, who slotted past Andre Petim, but was adjudged offside in a tight call from the assistant referee.

But Santos did have the lead on 50 minutes through Musa Otieno as he tapped home from a corner.

Ajax Cape Town pressed for an equaliser and it finally came with seven minutes remaining after an excellent dummy from Franklin Cale. Dipsy Selolwane played the ball into the box and Cale’s brilliance fooled the defenders, with Mabhuti Khenyeza left with the simplest of finishes.

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