Eskom load-shedding threatens Sundowns clash with Stellenbosch FC
Mamelodi Sundowns’ league encounter against visitors Stellenbosch FC is at the mercy of Eskom’s load-shedding schedule and there are no guarantees the lights will stay on for the duration of the match at Loftus Stadium in Tshwane on Wednesday night.
The embattled power utility plunged the nation into uncertainty after implementing rotational power cuts over the last few days‚ which reached an unprecedented Stage 6 on Monday‚ and Loftus operations manager Hugo Kemp conceded they can’t guarantee the game will not be affected by the crisis.
“We have communicated with the City of Tshwane but there is no guarantee that the lights will be on during the game on Wednesday‚” Kemp said.
“We have a good relationship with the City of Tshwane and our best endeavours are to make sure that there is power at the stadium for the match to take place as scheduled.
“We don’t have a back-up generator but we are looking at the possibility of getting one that can operate separately from the city council power.”
The stadium is located in Hatfield‚ an area that does not have too many power cuts during load-shedding because of the number of embassies around it. The US embassy is within walking distance of Loftus.
Sundowns are playing catch-up to runaway log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, and three home points against bottom-of-the-log Stellenbosch would see them leapfrog SuperSport United into second spot.
The state of the pitch will also come under scrutiny after unrelenting rain in the last few days, and Kemp says they are working around the clock to ensure it is playable on Wednesday.
“As I speak to you now‚ we are on the pitch with the ground staff and we are working hard‚” he said.
“We have a tractor to help with the drainage and we are also using the Super Sopper that is used in cricket.
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure that the pitch is playable for the players to be able to express themselves and for the fans to enjoy the match.”
The last time Sundowns played on a waterlogged pitch they lost 3-2 to Golden Arrows in a league match at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban in November.