Edmilson Dove of Cape Town City during a Absa Premiership. Picture: SHAUN ROY/GALLO IMAGES
Edmilson Dove of Cape Town City during a Absa Premiership. Picture: SHAUN ROY/GALLO IMAGES

Football returns to Newlands rugby stadium in Cape Town when Cape Town City host Polokwane City in their MTN8 quarterfinal on Saturday.

The continued unavailability of City’s home ground at Cape Town Stadium due to pitch issues sees the opening-round match-up played at Newlands.

It took until Tuesday for the Premier Soccer League to finalise this weekend’s quarterfinal fixtures because of the polemic over venues in Cape Town.

Last week Cape Town City chair John Comitis roundly criticised Cape Town Stadium for not having the surface ready for the new season and moved the derby against Stellenbosch FC to Athlone.

But this Saturday, Athlone Stadium is being used by Ajax Cape Town at the start of the new National First Division season and so City had to scramble for an alternate venue, eventually securing Newlands.

The rugby ground has not had a major football event since Fifa staged a match for Nelson Mandela’s birthday in July 2007 that featured two veteran teams with the likes of Ruud Gullit and George Weah playing.

Comitis had in 2018 criticised Newlands for claiming their pitch was not suitable when he had a similar problem at Cape Town Stadium and was eventually forced to move a home game to Durban.

City are still looking for a venue for their scheduled Tuesday, August 27 home match against Kaizer Chiefs.

The first match-up this Saturday in the cup competition for the previous season’s top eight teams sees Benni McCarthy’s defending champions City‚ the fourth-placed finishers in the Premiership in 2018/2019‚ host Polokwane‚ who placed fifth‚ at 3pm.

At 6pm last season’s league runners-up Orlando Pirates meet Highlands Park‚ who finished seventh‚ at Orlando Stadium.

At 8.15pm on Saturday night 2018/2019 league champions Mamelodi Sundowns meet eighth-placed finishers Bloemfontein Celtic at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.

Sunday’s lone quarterfinal pits third-placed PSL finishers Bidvest Wits against sixth-placed SuperSport United — also last campaign’s MTN8 final losing finalists — at Bidvest Stadium at 3pm.

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