Kaizer Chiefs supporters. Picture: SUPPLIED
Kaizer Chiefs supporters. Picture: SUPPLIED

Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs have suspended talks with a number of top international teams that were supposed to come to SA as part of the club’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Chiefs were established on January 7 1970 and had planned to celebrate this milestone throughout 2020 and dedicate the year to honouring its supporters‚ staff and players.

But the club’s marketing director, Jessica Motaung, confirmed that plans to bring several high-profile clubs to SA as part of the celebrations have been put on hold due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has forced either the cancellation or suspension of several big sporting events worldwide.

“We have been in discussions with international teams coming to SA to play against us‚ even legends‚ but we engaged internally and said to ourselves: ‘Let’s put all these plans on hold until it is possible to continue’‚” Motaung said.

Chiefs and Orlando Pirates have played against top sides such as Manchester United‚ Arsenal‚ Manchester City‚ AC Milan and Tottenham Hotspur in high-profile friendly matches over the years, but Motaung declined to reveal the names of the international teams they have been communicating with.

“It is important that as an organisation we put all plans on hold until things are normalised. It is important to do things differently and be more flexible‚ so we are in a holding space in terms of celebrations but when the time is right‚ things will resume‚” she said.

“Certainly some of the momentum has been lost but at the same time we understand there is a bigger problem and there is nothing we can do about it.

“The issue now is focusing on fighting this pandemic and making sure everyone is safe and healthy. We will continue to engage our supporters through our social media platforms and other means of communication.”

Motaung added that their priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the players and staff at Naturena.

“We have great systems at the village in Naturena‚” she said. “We have great doctors who have come in and spoken to the staff and the team. We have closed our store at the village and we have informed our supporters to use the online platform to make orders.”