- Win against Cape Town City would have guaranteed R1.5 million prize
- Club lost sponsorships due to COVID-19
Zebras defender Thatayaone Ditlhokwe’s club, Supersport United, missed out on earning an extra R1.5 million after failing to beat Cape Town City to clinch the Q-Innovation prize for the last quarter of the ABSA Premiership season. The Q-Innovation prize is given to the best performing team in four different quarters of the season, it is a form guided table which sees the team with the better form being named the Q-Innovation winner.
Each stage of the season has a Q-Innovation winner and the favourite to win the last phase of the season was Supersport as they had recorded four wins, one draw and one loss in six games. Supersport United and Cape Town City were the best performing teams going into the last round of the season, before kick-off Supersport were in pole position to clinch the prize as they were a point ahead of City.
However, the Cape Town outfit managed to record a slender 1-0 win courtesy of a goal from Kermit Eras-mus early in the second half. Ditlhokwe played in his sixth consecutive game since the league restarted in August, despite his best efforts he could not prevent his side from registering a defeat against City.
Ditlhokwe joined the club in January and he has quickly established himself as a regular starter, his involvement in all of the club’s games showcased head coach Kaitano Tembo’s faith in the 21 year old defend-er. His club will still participate in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup campaign by virtue of being MTN8 champions.
Supersport United could have found the R1.5 million prize handy after losing multiple sponsorships in the last few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supersport’s Chief Executive Officer Stan Matthews was quoted by South African publication Soccer Laduma, in June, stating that the club had lost several sponsors including Engen.
“We’ve seen at club level, various clubs have lost their sponsors, including us. We had a six-year relationship with Engen, they’ve been our team sponsor and given us good funding and good support and all of a sudden we lost that and we haven’t been able to replace it. We’re one of a few clubs that have been hit quite negatively in terms of revenue. What that does is it puts a lot of stress in terms of your resources because it’s not possible to go and acquire players in a market where you’re actually required to sell players just to balance the books. There aren’t many sources of revenue open to clubs beyond sponsorship, grants [and] prize money, the rest is all expenses, it’s a tough business,” stated Matthews.