In a bid to put bums to seats, Chippa United are giving away 20,000 free tickets to their supporters for the Absa Premiership clash against Maritzburg United, at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, on Saturday (3.30pm).
The Port Elizabeth-based professional based soccer team are pulling out all the stops to make sure they have a large crowd behind them as they bid to gain three points at home against the Team of Choice.
Chippa’s chief operations officer Morgan Mammila said the drive was to bring their supporters closer to the team.
The Chilli Boys return to the Bay after a month of absence, with their last home match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium dating back to November when they lost 1-0 to AmaZulu.
“We are giving away 20 000 tickets to our supporters. Some will be distributed to local radio stations around PE and some will be given out from our offices,” Mammila said.
“People are more than welcome to come and collect them (tickets) from our offices at the stadium starting from Tuesday until Friday between 9.30am and 4pm.
“We are actually trying to bring our supporters back home and also push the boys so that they can win against Maritzburg.
“This will be a long-term plan. This is just to show our supporters that this team belongs to them.”
However, the former Baroka CEO said there will be specific games where supporters will have to pay for entry as a cash injection to keep the team running.
The Proteas will also be in town on Saturday as they kick-start their five match ODI series against Pakistan at St George’s Park.
Asked if they had taken that into consideration Mammila said: “ We are aware of that. Most people are not cricket lovers.
“We have our own people and you must remember soccer is the number one sport in the country.”
Mammila’s appointment was among the series of changes that unfolded at Chippa last week. There was also the axing of interim coach Joel Masutha and the appointment of Clinton Larsen as the new head coach at the club.
Larsen will be assisted by Mbuyiselo Sambu, who returns to Chippa after his exit when Eric Tinkler took over from Dan Malesela just three matches into the season.
The Chilli Boys are lying second from the bottom of the log with 12 points from 17 games.