Kaizer Chiefs will make a record 25th successive appearance in the Telkom Charity Cup when they line up against Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday.
Amakhosi are the only side that have played in every Charity Cup since its inception in 1985.
The Amakhosi-Downs semifinal kicks off at noon, while holders Orlando Pirates play AmaZulu in the other semifinal at 10am. The two winners meet in the final at 5pm.
The four teams polled the most telephone votes via the public to qualify for what will be the biggest Charity Cup in its 25-year history.
Downs got 191 384 votes, AmaZulu surprised with the second highest number of votes at 124 372, Pirates were third with 113 989 and Chiefs fourth with 113 080 votes.
In making the draw at Soccer City on Tuesday, the PSL said a record 90 000 tickets had been sold. PSL official Zola Nkuta added stadium management had come to the party with an extra 3 000 suite tickets costing R450 each, which are now on sale at Computicket and Shoprite Checkers outlets.
All four clubs will parade new players signed in the off-season.
The Buccaneers are confident of making it three in a row and retaining the trophy.
Said Bucs spokesperson Mickey Modisane: “We will be able to kill two birds with one stone on the same day.
“This is an important event because not only are we contributing to worthy causes, we get the opportunity to test our readiness ahead of the new season in tough, competitive conditions.”
Bucs will field new signings against a new-look Usuthu, such as Patrick Malokase, Mark Mayambela, Clifford Ngobeni and Daine Klate.
Said Modisane: ‘We know with a new coach AmaZulu will be difficult. It will be a test of character for our players in front of 90 000 fans at Soccer City.
“But we will be ready.”
AmaZulu spokesperson Philani Mabaso said new coach Manqoba Mngqithi faced a tough baptism of fire, but his new coach was up for the challenge.
Mngqithi joined Usuthu from Golden Arrows in the off-season.
“Our new coach has signed a number of promising youngsters who are under 22 years old, and he said if we qualified he would blood them.”
AmaZulu are the only side in the competition to have played at the magnificent Soccer City. They were beaten 3-0 in the Nedbank Cup final by BidVest Wits in May at the end of last season.
Said Mabaso: “Hopefully having played at Soccer City will help us and this time we hope to come away winning.”
Both Chiefs and Downs will be unveiling new players this week.
Amakhosi will parade their new signings at their Naturena base on Wednesday, while Downs have seven new players and a new coach to introduce to the media and their fans.
“We have signed some really top-class players from outside the country and a new coach who will be named later this week. On the event, we are delighted to play Chiefs,” said Downs spokesperson Alex Shakoane
“Playing a big side like Chiefs means we do not have to motivate players. We are more than ready.”
Amakhosi spokesperson Thebe Mohatle said: “Bring them on. We are already winners, because by getting voted into the event we have helped underprivileged people in our country.
“We also aim to shine on the field and while I am not disrespecting AmaZulu, we would love to play Pirates in the final.” — Sapa