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Obituary: The Telkom Charity Cup

The tragic elimination of the Telkom Charity Cup, at age 12, has shocked the South African football scene.

The season opener was one of the country’s most lively tournaments. Played over just one day, it was the fans who decided who would participate by voting for their favourite team, either via the phone or by SMS.

And this is the kind of voting that pleases people - you get the votes, and you're in. No compromises, no 'Tournament of National Unity, just get the votes, then get your boots on. No power struggles or strikes, no deals struck around the table. You guys were the most popular, so get ready for battle.

Three matches in one day and getting to see the new signings - that’s what made the event a fan favourite.

Now her execution due to “schedule-crowding suffocation” on April 6, has united many football skeptics, analysts and pundits in dismay. How can a tournament that lasts less than 500 minutes be even accused of crowding the Premiership schedule, let alone be found guilty and eliminated?

A born entertainer, the Charity Cup brought joy to the lives of fans. She survived for just 11 years and was first welcomed by the happy smile of Orlando Pirates players back in 1999.

In 2007 she moved to the City of Roses, were she stayed with Bloemfontein Celtic, after spending three years at Chloorkop under the foster eye of Mamelodi Sundowns between 2004 and 2006. Prior to that, she lived a glamour life in Phefeni from 2002 to 2003.

Orlando Pirates said in a statement: "Here was a hard worker, courageously and with dignity rebuilding the lives of the less fortunate. The manner in which she did that placed her a cut above the rest. She was born under our watchful eyes and we honoured to lift her up before anyone else. Sadly she had her last breath in the hands of our rival neighbour from Naturena after we had a tussle over her.”

Telkom Charity leaves behind 16 teams, a blood brother in the Telkom Knockout and three close friends, the MTN8, the Absa Premier League and the Nedbank Cup.

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