THOHOYANDOU Stadium is expected to be a hive of activity on 16 September when the well-supported Venda side Black Leopards host the equally popular Bloemfontein Celtic.
The venue has been the subject of much speculation after Leopards boss David Thidiela insisted on using the stadium for all their home matches upon getting promoted to the PSL.
However, instead of using Thohoyandou Stadium last week, Leopards hosted Orlando Pirates at Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium despite the Venda stadium getting the thumbs-up from the PSL.
Leopards head coach Joel Masutha says they cannot wait to play in their own backyard in Thohoyandou Village.
Lidoda Duvha used the stadium during their National First Division days but will only be hosting their first top flight game there on 16 September, as the venue had to be renovated to meet Fifa requirements.
“Everyone is excited to be playing at home,” said Masutha.
“We’ve always had a good run in Thohoyandou in front of a packed stadium. Peter Mokaba is a beautiful venue but it is not our home stadium. It is draining for our fans to travel to Polokwane when we’re supposed to be playing a home match.
“So the players and fans can’t wait for our first real PSL home match against Celtic.”
Leopards beat Polokwane City FC 1-0 and got defeated 2-1 by Orlando Pirates at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
“I don’t mean to sound arrogant but the truth is that it won’t be easy for teams to beat us in Venda,” said the former Leopards goalkeeper.
“I don’t think we would have lost to Pirates if that game was played in Venda. Having our fans by our side and the high temperatures give us the advantage in summer. We have to win at home at all costs.”
Leopards, known for fighting relegation in the top flight, started the season in promising form and Masutha vows they are in the big leagues to stay.
“I am impressed and optimistic that we will do well,” he said.
Leopards are currently eighth in the Premiership standings with five points from four games.