The third PSL Coca-Cola Cup season promises to be spectacular. Sponsor, Coca-Cola, who has a proud tradition with the peoples sport, will be introducing innovations that will keep the tournament sizzling hot.
"The Coca-Cola Cup would not be the Coca-Cola Cup if we didnt include something new every year," said Godfrey Mbingo, Senior Brand Manager, Coca-Cola. "The past two seasons exceeded expectations and all agree that this competition is indeed ya chesa. To keep it hot, we will continue to promote flair, goals, glamour, entertainment and prizes - words now synonymous with the Coca-Cola Cup"
The Die Hard supporters will not be disappointed, and Coca-Cola has included elements that will capture the awareness of the Generally Interested soccer fan. Of these supporters a large number are female that Coca-Cola would like to recognize and see more of at the stadiums around the country.
"Elements that worked well last year will remain such as the Phashasha seats," said Mbingo. "This year we will enhance this once in a lifetime experience and include celebrities. Fans who win the opportunity to sit on the red couches can rub shoulders with the rich and famous."
This year an Ambassador programme will be introduced. High profile South Africans will be seen at the PSL Coca-Cola Cup games including Miss Soweto, Razia Mdluli, Loyiso, Azania and Glen Lewis. These Ambassadors are generally interested soccer supporters who are keen to experience the excitement of the competition. They will hopefully entice more South Africans into becoming active PSL Coca-Cola Cup supporters.
Once again Charities will benefit from the tournament through the Goals for Charity programme. Any team scoring more that 2 goals in a game will receive R10 000 per goal. Of this, half will go to the Club and the remainder will be distributed between two charities supported by Coca-Cola, namely, Starfish (supporting AIDS orphans) and HOPE Worldwide (AIDS awareness and education).
Select fans will get to experience the PSL Coca-Cola Cup final in true glitz and glamour this year. Through a media competition fans can win a chance to dress up and watch the game with a host of celebrities in true royalty style. Fashion, elegance, extravagance and flair will be the order of the day.
To give something back to the loyal fans Coca-Cola will be producing a 450ml can to be sold at the same price as 340ml can.
The 2003 PSL Coca-Cola Cup will have something for everyone and those that show excellence will be rewarded at a glittering function to be staged on 15 December. There are incentives for players, officials and the Media. This year three new media incentives have been included : The 2003 Coca-Cola Cup Community Radio and Print reporter and the 2003 Coca-Cola Cup Television Reporter. The recipient of each will earn R10 000
Coca-Cola will also be issuing lifetime achievement awards, which will be announced during the season.
But the main action will be on the field of play and flair is encouraged and will be rewarded. For every televised game there will be a Coca-Cola Flair Moment of the Match award for the player who produced a moment of brilliance. He will receive a Jersey No 10 and R5 000. The player awards remain the same with the Flair Team of the Coca-Cola Cup this year receiving R25 000.
For many fans, the last two finals between Kaizer Chiefs and Jomo Cosmos will still be vivid memories, with Amakhosi fans much preferring the memory of November 2001, when goals by Arthur Zwane, Kenny Niemach, Jabu Pule and a Shaun Permall brace ensured an emphatic 5-0 victory for the Phefeni Glamour Boys.
A year later it was sweet revenge for Jomo Sono and his men, as Manuel Bucuane found the net midway through the first half to give the Ezenkosi yet another cup triumph.
Thus, Cosmos go into the competition as defending champions and anybody who knows anything about South African soccer knows that whenever Cosmos go into a cup competition, they must count as one of the favourites.
They also go into the tournament defending a proud record: no team has managed to find the net against Cosmos for 314 minutes. The last person to put one into the back of the Cosmos goal was Hellenics Darrel Smith who scored in his sides 3-1 defeat. After that, there was no stopping Cosmos and Dynamos (2-0) Rangers (1-0) and Chiefs (1-0) were all beaten on route to the cup triumph.
Time will tell who will be crowned the 2003 PSL Coca-Cola Cup champions.
What happens on the football field remains under the domain of the Premier Soccer League and the format and prize money for the 2003 PSL Coca-Cola Cup will remain unchanged. "We have developed an excellent partnership with The Coca-Cola Company," said Trevor Phillips, CEO of the PSL. "And we are proud to have them as our sponsor. Together we look forward to an exciting few months of red hot knockout soccer."